Interior Design Firm Owner Sentenced for Tax Evasion
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Connie L. Christy, 62, of New Albany, was sentenced in U.S. District Court to four months in prison, four months community confinement, three months home confinement and three years of supervised release for attempting to evade the IRS of more than $124,000.
Benjamin C. Glassman, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, Frank S. Turner II, Acting Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation, Cincinnati Field Office, announced the sentence handed down today by Chief U.S. District Judge Edmund A. Sargus, Jr.
According to court documents, Christy solely owned and operated Christy Collections, Inc., a custom interior design firm. In 2011, Christy received nearly $1.6 million from two clients for design services. Of that, approximately $637,000 was taxable income, yet Christy only reported $205,771.
Christy failed to report all of her income to her tax return preparer – instead claiming that some of the income she received had been business expenses – and thus, she attempted to evade an additional tax due and owing of $124,864.
The Sentencing Memorandum in this case details that Christy earned the income while working on a design project for a couple who suffered from medical and physical conditions. Their conditions required specific types of materials used in furnishing their home, which Christy told her clients she could purchase at discounted rates.
The clients grew suspicious when Christy began to bill at a higher rate, claiming that contractors had forgotten to include items in their quotes or that retailers had gone out of business after Christy had paid them but before supplying the materials.
After the couple confronted Christy, she tried to cover up her activity by attempting to convince retailers to provide her with fake invoices for services. Additionally, Christy submitted documentation of personal expenditures on her beach home and business expenses from a fictitious vendor to try to justify the overpayment she had requested from her clients.
During the time of the project (and since June 2008), Christy was also receiving government benefits monthly after falsely claiming on her application that she did not receive child support, was not self-employed, did not have a vehicle, checking account, credit union account or stocks/bonds and did not file a tax return in the previous five years.
Christy was charged by indictment in March 2015. She pleaded guilty in June 2016 to one count of tax evasion.
“Christy’s scheme to defraud and obtain additional money from her clients ultimately culminated in her failure to report a portion of those proceeds as income to the IRS, causing a tax loss of more than $100,000,” U.S. Attorney Glassman said.
“Christy's attempt to evade tax was a theft from the American public," said Ryan L. Korner, Acting Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation, Cincinnati Field Office. “Tax evasion and tax fraud of this magnitude and with this degree of trickery, dishonesty and deceit, deserves to be punished. The IRS and the U.S. Attorney’s Office remain determined and vigilant in ferreting out such schemes to cheat the honest taxpayers."
U.S. Attorney Glassman commended the cooperative investigation by IRS Criminal Investigation, as well as Assistant United States Attorneys Jessica W. Knight and Jessica H. Kim, who are representing the United States in this case.