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Crisfield-Somerset
Ocean City business owner failed to pay nearly $300,000 in taxes sentenced to prison

BALTIMORE — U.S. District Judge Catherine C. Blake sentenced Patrick McLaughlin, age 43, of Ocean City, Maryland to 10 months in prison, followed by one year of supervised release, for failing to file individual income tax returns and failing to report employment tax withholdings.

The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein and Special Agent in Charge Rick A. Raven of the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation, Washington, D.C. Field Office.

"Corporations are required to file tax returns just like individuals," said Rick A. Raven, Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation, Washington, D.C., Field Office. "Mr. McLaughlin's willful actions of failing to file multiple corporate and individual tax returns violates federal tax law. IRS Criminal Investigation will continue to pursue corporations and individuals who willfully fail to file correct and accurate tax returns."

According to his guilty plea, McLaughlin operated several concession businesses in Ocean City including: photo companies Sunbeach Studios, Ltd. and United Beach Photo, Inc.; Arctic Inventions, Ltd., which operated a fleet of retail ice cream trucks; and 85 N Sunny, which provided beach equipment rentals to tourists.

McLaughlin failed to file corporate tax returns for Sunbeach, Arctic and United for tax years 2003 to 2009. As a result, McLaughlin failed to pay $10,239 in corporate taxes for United alone, from 2007 to 2009.

McLaughlin also did not file individual income tax returns for tax years 2005 to 2009, thus failing to pay a total of $151,114 in federal income taxes earned from his businesses. When in December of 2010, IRS agents notified McLaughlin that he was under criminal investigation, McLaughlin submitted corporate and individual income tax returns for the missing years thereafter.

From 2006 to 2008, McLaughlin also failed to report and remit Social Security and Medicare taxes (employment taxes) withheld from his employees' wages, resulting in a total employment tax loss to the government of $135,348.46. For example, during 2007, McLaughlin and United withheld $29,381 from the United employees, which McLaughlin had to pay as an employment tax, along with an additional $14,355. Instead, McLaughlin did not report any withholdings nor make any employment tax payments. Similarly, in 2007 and 2008, McLaughlin and 85 N Sunny withheld more than $8,000 and $12,000 respectively in employment taxes, which he had a duty to pay, along with an additional $21,259. Instead, McLaughlin did not report any withholdings and made only a one-time payment of $230.

As a result of McLaughlin's failure to pay corporate, individual and employment taxes, the total tax loss to the government is $296,701.46.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended the IRS-CI for its work in the investigation and thanked Assistant United States Attorneys Mark W. Crooks and Harry M. Gruber, who prosecuted the case.

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