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Maine Resident Going to Jail for Pretending He Resided in States without an Income Tax
April 12, 2016
AUGUSTA, Me – Attorney General Janet Mills announced today that Tracy Burke, 51, a Merchant Marine now living in Virginia, was sentenced to serve jail time on multiple counts of Intentional Income Tax Evasion, Failure to File Maine Income Tax Returns, and Failure to Pay Maine Income Tax for years 2008 through 2013. Burke evaded paying Maine income tax by pretending to be a New Hampshire resident, and later a Florida resident, while he was in fact residing in Maine. New Hampshire and Florida do not have a state income tax. Between 2008 and 2013 Burke earned an average of $90,000 per year, but failed to pay any state income tax on these wages.
Burke obtained out of state driver’s licenses and maintained memberships in out of state associations, among other things, to make it appear that he was not a Maine resident. He actually resided in Maine with his wife, had his mail delivered out of state only to have it forwarded to his Maine address, and spent little time in New Hampshire or Florida. When Maine Revenue Services contacted Burke on two separate occasions directing him to file Maine income tax returns Burke claimed he was not a Maine resident and made multiple false statements to support his claims. Ultimately, the Criminal Investigative Unit of Maine Revenue Services uncovered Burke’s fraudulent residency scheme.
Burke could only be criminally charged for years 2008 through 2013 due to the statute of limitations. He pretended, however, that he resided out of state for more than two decades. Burke agreed under a plea agreement to repay the State $125,819. This represents $30,063 for years 2008 through 2013 and an additional $95,756 for the years 1988 through 2007. As part of the plea agreement the State has already recovered $55,521 from Burke.
After a sentencing hearing on April 12, 2016 at the Capitol Judicial Center in Augusta, Justice Robert Mullen sentenced Burke to 364 days, with all but 60 days suspended, and one year of administrative release. Burke was also ordered to repay $70,298 which represents the remaining balance of his income tax liability.
This case was investigated by the Maine Revenue Services’ Criminal Investigations Unit. Assistant Attorney General Gregg D. Bernstein handled this matter for the Attorney General’s Criminal Division.