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Strafford business owner pleads guilty to filing false tax return

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A Strafford business owner is facing restitution and potential jail time for failing to pay money owed to the IRS.

Philip Russell Turner, 53, pleaded guilty yesterday to one count of filing a false tax return, according to a news release from the office of Teresa Moore, U.S. attorney for the Western District of Missouri. Turner has agreed to pay restitution, and pending sentencing, could be sent to federal prison without parole for up to three years under federal statutes.

Turner is the co-owner and president of a business that's identified in court documents only as “Company A.” Don Ledford, spokesperson for the U.S. attorney's office, said the business is not identified in court records because it was not involved in the offense Turner pleaded guilty to.

A Springfield News-Leader report indicates Turner is tied to a timeshare exit business called Relief Solutions International, which has been the focus of a Better Business Bureau warning, though Springfield Business Journal was unable to independently verify that reporting by deadline.

In his guilty plea yesterday, Turner admitted he filed a false tax return for calendar year 2018. He claimed $15,088 in income for that year, leaving out additional income that should have been reported, according to the release.

Turner also admitted in his plea agreement to using funds from Company A to pay for more than $612,000 in renovation to his personal residence in Strafford and cabins in Colorado in 2017 and 2018, falsely telling his accountant that the expenses were incurred by the company for renovations to its offices, among other things, so they would be listed as personal income on Turner's tax returns.

Turner's plea agreement indicates he has an outstanding income tax liability of $97,765 for calendar year 2017 and $61,201 for calendar year 2018, according to the release. He additionally owes $351,620 in unpaid taxes from calendar years 2013, 2014 and 2015.

The plea agreement's terms stipulate that Turner may pay $510,586 in restitution, plus interest, to the IRS.

A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the presentence investigation is completion, according to the release.


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