Former area attorney sentenced to 30 months in prison for tax evasion

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A former attorney in Brownsburg who prepared tax returns for clients in the Indianapolis area has been sentenced to 2-1/2 years in prison after pleading guilty to tax evasion of more than $2.4 million, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced Thursday.

Scott C. Cole, 55, who received the 30-month sentence from U.S. District Court Chief Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson “has a complete lack of respect for the law, for the tax code, his fellow citizens and for the court,” the judge said.

The court found the defendant owes $2,410,443 to the IRS.

Cole resigned from the Indiana bar in 2014. According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the resignation followed the filing of a complaint by the Supreme Court of Indiana Disciplinary Commission, which charged Cole with filing fraudulent tax returns for 2001 and 2002.

Investigators said Cole attempted to evade tax payments from 2012 to 2017 by opening bank accounts with fake company names and directing payment for services he rendered to those artificial companies. He also paid personal expenses through third-party business accounts, dealt extensively in cash and filed false tax returns understating taxable income.

“Cole, a former attorney and paid tax preparer, intentionally and purposely used his ‘expertise’ to repeatedly obstruct the Internal Revenue Service and to evade his federal tax obligations,” said U.S. Attorney Josh Minkler in written remarks. “Taxpayers who deceive and defraud the federal government by deliberately failing to pay their federal income taxes, like Cole, will be found and prosecuted.”

Cole faced as much as five years in prison. He was ordered to serve two years of supervised release following his imprisonment and pay full restitution to the government.

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