Church Sound Man To Face Taxman’s Music

Nashville, TN — A Tennessee man who operates a business installing complex sound systems in church auditoriums nationwide, pled guilty to two counts of failure to pay federal income tax. As part of his plea, he admitted that he owes the federal government more than $300,000.

After admitting guilt in August, 2008, the sentencing hearing took place in January 2009. The court sentenced Charles Grecco, 44, of Franklin, Tenn, to serve 6 months in prison, followed by one year of supervised release, and to pay restitution of $300,141.82 to the Internal Revenue Service.

According to the government, Grecco failed to pay more than $67,000 in federal income taxes for years 2001 and 2002 which was only two of the six tax years involved.

During the plea hearing, Grecco admitted that while operating the business, Sterling Group Audio, he did not make estimated tax payments as required by law even though he had funds to make those estimated payments on or before the due dates for making estimated tax payments..

The government’s investigation revealed that Grecco lived a lifestyle which prosecutors described as “lavish” during the time that he failed to pay his tax obligations.

Living a “lavish” lifestyle while not paying taxes drives the IRS crazy. Spending money on something else when a tax bill is due seems to make IRS agents’ and federal prosecutors’ blood simply boil. (Some may argue that living any life, even an un-lavish, plain one, while not paying taxes, may make more than a few IRS workers’ blood boil, but that’s something to take up on another day.)

Getting back to “lavish,” unpaid estimated taxes, and what it does to the IRS and prosecutors:

Think: indignant, huffy, angry, riled.

Think: red-cape-waved-in-front-of-snorting-bull.

Think: the girlfriend you broke up with when she didn’t want to break up with you.

Think: “Hell hath no fury ….”

(Then, though, it’s hard not to think of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s observation that “Of all debts, men are least willing to pay their taxes; what a satire this is on government.”)

Satire or not, though, Grecco did build up a significant tax debt.

And, satire or not, prosecutors made sure to identify what Grecco was spending money on rather than paying his estimated tax bills: Lasik eye surgery, elective plastic surgery, church donations (“generous” donations, to be sure), dance lessons, home-school tuition, several luxury vehicles, two expensive homes and a vacant lot (you know you’re really living it up when you splurge on a vacant lot!).

Grecco admitted that as of May 17, 2007, he owed more than $300,000 in taxes, penalties and interest for tax years 2000 to 2005, and then, to cap it off, during the sentencing hearing it was also revealed that Grecco had not paid taxes for 2006 or 2007.

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