Owner of the Pickle pleads guilty to federal tax fraud - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Owner of the Pickle pleads guilty to federal tax fraud

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MADISON, WIS. (News Release) - John W. Vaudreuil, United States Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin, announced that Jared Jerome Hart, 36, Eau Claire, Wis., pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in Madison to filing a false tax form.

U.S. District Judge William Conley scheduled sentencing for November 4, 2014 at 1:00 p.m. Hart faces a maximum penalty of three years in federal prison, and will also have to pay restitution to the Internal Revenue Service and the Wisconsin Department of Revenue.

At the plea hearing, the United States established the following facts. Between 2008 and 2011, Hart owned a tavern in Eau Claire called The Pickle Bar. The Pickle Bar accepted payment only in the form of cash and at the end of each day, tavern employees would place daily sales in a safe for Hart to pick up. Hart would bring the cash home, count it using his cash-counting machine, and then record a number for the day in his own daily calendar. Hart would then deposit only some of the cash from the business into the business bank account.

At the end of each month, Hart would give his accountants the payroll information, the business bank statements, the business check register, and vendor invoices. From these records, which Hart knew were incomplete, the accountants created the official books of the business that were used for tax purposes. Hart never told his accountants about the cash he was taking or “skimming” from the tavern, or the second set of books he was keeping at home.

Between 2008 and 2011, there was more than a $1 million discrepancy between the gross receipts of The Pickle Bar reflected in the books the accountants maintained, and the second set of books Hart maintained at his home. Hart’s accountants used the incomplete information provided to them by Hart to generate the false Corporate Income Tax Forms for the tavern that were filed with his individual tax return for tax years 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011. The artificially low business income was used on his personal income tax return, resulting in a substantial federal income tax loss.

Hart’s daily calendars were discovered during execution of a search warrant at his home in June 2012.

The charges against Hart are the result of an investigation conducted by the Internal Revenue Service and Wisconsin Department of Revenue. The prosecution of this case is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Meredith Duchemin.

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