U.S. v. Statin, 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 2763 (5th Cir. Feb 10, 2010)
Karey Statin was the sole proprietor of Quick-Tax in Houston, Texas. He was indicted on fifteen counts of 26 U.S.C. Section 7206(2). At trial, Statin moved pursuant to Rule 29 for judgment of acquittal. The motion was denied and the jury found Mr. Statin guilty on all counts.
Counts one through eight charged Statin with including false income claims on Schedule C. These taxpayers appeared to have earned more than they, in reality, had earned. Counts nine through fifteen overstated Scedule A deductions.
Statin was convicted and sentenced to 36 months on counts 1 through 8. However, he was sentenced to 15 months on counts 9 through 15. The sentence on counts 1 through 8 ran concurrently. The sentence for counts 9 through 15 ran concurrently but, the two groups ran consecutively.
Statin appealed the conviction and sentence. Statin argued that each of the taxpayers signed Form 8453. This form created a presumption that the information was accurate. Otherwise any preparer could be charged for filing a return on information supplied by the taxpayer.
While the Court agreed with the argument in principal, it did not agree that the government failed to introduce sufficient evidence to overcome the presumption. The Court found that rational jurors could have found the elements of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt. The credibility of witnesses was a matter solely in the province of the jury.
The Court found that the 51 month sentence was within the guideline range and the Sentencing Court had sufficiently explained the Section 3553A factors.
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