Former Delta County School District Superintendent Pleads Guilty to Filing False Tax Return

DENVER (LAWFUEL) – Troy A. Eid, U.S. Attorney for the District of Colorado, and Christopher M. Sigerson, Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation, announced that Laddie Livingston, age 67, of Paonia, Colorado, pled guilty yesterday before U.S. District Court Judge Walker D. Miller to a one count Information which charged him with filing a false tax return for 2002. Livingston remains free on bond.

Laddie Livingston was charged by Information on March 28, 2008. He pled guilty on September 10, 2008, and is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Miller on December 2, 2008 at 9:00 a.m.

According to the Information charging document, as well as the stipulated facts outline in the defendant’s plea agreement, prior to 1998 Laddie Livingston served for a substantial period of time as the Superintendent of the Delta County, Colorado School District. The defendant formally retired from the position in approximately 1998, and became eligible to receive retirement benefits administered by the Public Employees Retirement Association of the State of Colorado (PERA). Subsequent to his retirement, Livingston continued to function in the role of the Delta County School District’s superintendent. He continued in that capacity until September 2004.

In January 2001 the defendant directed the School District’s business manager to issue his compensation checks directly to him. Over the course of 2001, Livingston caused the School District to issue eleven such checks to him, totaling $31,725, which he used for his personal benefit. During 2002, the defendant caused the School District to issue twelve checks to him totaling $112,250, which he similarly deposited and used. And in 2003, the defendant caused the School District to issue twelve checks to him, totaling $90,262.50, which he deposited and used for personal expenses. Because the defendant took possession of these checks, none of the compensation that the defendant received from the School District was in fact, deferred income. Thus, the defendant was required to report the checks as income, and pay taxes on the funds in the years that he had received them.

Additionally, in March and August 2002, Livingston received as early retirement bonuses totaling $90,750. Although these payments were required to be reported as income, the defendant directed the School District’s business manager not to issue and file an IRS Form 1099 reporting these payments to the IRS. As a result of these omissions, the defendant filed returns which failed to report income totaling $335,087.50, with a tax obligation of $133,651.

“No public official, at any level of government, is above the law,” said U.S. Attorney Troy A. Eid.

“Prosecuting individuals who intentionally conceal income and evade taxes is a vital element in maintaining public confidence in our tax system,” said Christopher M. Sigerson, IRS Special Agent in Charge of the IRS-Criminal Investigation, Denver Field Office.

Filing a false tax return carries a penalty of not more than 3 years in federal prison, and a fine of up to a $250,000.

This case was investigated by the IRS Criminal Investigation Division. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ken Harmon.

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