(STL.News) – A federal grand jury in Denver, Colorado, returned an indictment yesterday charging Lawrence Martin Birk with failing to surrender to serve his sentence, announced Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard E. Zuckerman of the Justice Department’s Tax Division.
Birk was convicted by a jury in July 2019 of tax evasion. According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, Birk founded a sole proprietorship, Tarryall River Log Homes LLC, which sold and built log homes. Although the company was profitable, Birk did not voluntarily pay federal taxes on its income. When the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) began collection efforts, Birk hired a tax firm to prepare eight years’ worth of delinquent tax returns, but concealed from the firm $400,000 of retirement distributions. Even after filing returns, Birk still did not pay what the returns acknowledged he owed in taxes. Instead, he sent the IRS threatening correspondence and sought to impede its efforts to seize money from his bank accounts. He did not file returns or make any tax payments for 2006 through 2018.
Based on this conduct, on Oct. 30, 2019, U.S. District Judge Robert E. Blackburn sentenced Birk to 60 months in prison, to serve three years of supervised release, and to pay restitution to the IRS in the amount of $1,858,826.
According to today’s indictment, although Birk was ordered to report to prison in November 2019 to serve his sentence, he fled and remained a fugitive until his recent arrest. If convicted, Birk faces up to five years’ imprisonment for his failure to appear, in addition to the 60 month term of imprisonment previously imposed.
An indictment merely alleges that crimes have been committed. The defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Zuckerman commended the IRS special agents and United States Marshall Service who conducted the investigation, as well as Department of Justice Trial Attorneys Elizabeth C. Hadden and Christopher Magnani, who are prosecuting the case.