Owner of Great Falls plumbing businesses sentenced to prison for employment tax fraud | USAO-MT

GREAT FALLS – A Great Falls businessman was sentenced to nine months in prison on June 24 and ordered to pay $148,735 in restitution for tax fraud, acting US Attorney Leif M. Johnson said today.

According to court documents, Thomas O’Connell, 48, owned and operated three plumbing businesses: Quality Plumbing and Heating, Orbit Plumbing and Heating and Orbit PHC. From at least 2005 through 2016, O’Connell made sure that trust fund taxes were withheld from employees’ wages and then paid no payroll taxes for several quarters. Instead, he sent payments to other creditors and to his own personal expenses. The total tax loss to the IRS as a result of his conduct is over $550,000.

O’Connell pleaded guilty on March 24 to deliberately failing to pay labor taxes.

U.S. District Chief Judge Brian M. Morris presided. In addition to jail time, O’Connell will be released under supervision for another three years.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Ryan G. Weldon and Attorney General Mark S. Determan of the Justice Department’s Tax Department are pursuing the case. The case was investigated by IRS-Criminal Investigation.

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