Former police officer pleads guilty to filing false income tax returns

Eric C. Minshall (Source: U.S. Marshals)
Eric C. Minshall (Source: U.S. Marshals)

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - A former St. Bernard Police Officer pleads guilty to two counts of filing a false federal income tax return with the IRS. Eric C. Minshall, 36, of West Chester, Ohio, faces a maximum prison sentence of 3 years and a fine of up to $250,000. Minshall is scheduled for sentencing on August 31, 2011.

According to court documents, since October 2008 Eric Minshall was a police officer for the City of St. Bernard. However, in January 2011 Minshall resigned from his position as a police officer for the City of St. Bernard in recognition that he would be pleading guilty to these income tax charges.

For the 2004 - 2008 income tax years Minshall created fictitious Forms W-2 for himself claiming false wages and false federal income tax withholdings that were reported on his federal income tax returns. In total, Minshall prepared five false Forms W-2 claiming $51,648 in false federal income tax withholdings.

In 2004, Minshall created a false Form W-2 claiming he worked for CBS Personnel Services. Minshall never worked for this company. Minshall used CBS Personnel Services employer identification number and their address to prepare an entirely false Form W-2.

In 2005, Minshall worked for World Mortgage Company; however, he inflated the amount of wages he earned and the amount of federal income tax that was withheld.

In 2007 and 2008, Minshall prepared false Forms W-2 for Freedom Mortgage Company, even though he was no longer employed with this company.

In addition, for the 2004 - 2008 income tax years Minshall reported a fictitious Schedule C business, 555 Communications, on his Forms 1040, individual federal income tax returns. Each year the Schedule C business losses were used to offset the legitimate wages he earned legitimately, as well as the fictitious wages he claimed to have earned. By doing so, Minshall was able to claim a federal income tax refund for the legitimate federal income tax withholdings, as well as for the fictitious federal income tax withholdings he claimed. In total, Minshall claimed business losses in the amount of $523,194.

Also, for the 2004 - 2008 income tax years Minshall failed to report $8,423 in taxable refunds from the State of Ohio, $2,217 in wages from two different companies, $80 in income from a church, and $2,362 in retirement income from two different companies.

Minshall willfully and intentionally caused an income tax loss of approximately $106,040.

"Public officials must comply with the same tax obligations as the citizens they serve. No public official gets a free pass to ignore the tax laws and should be an example to the citizens they serve," said Jose A. Gonzalez, Special Agent in Charge of the IRS-Criminal Investigation, Cincinnati Field Office. "This investigation serves to remind us that there is no such thing as free money."

This case is being prosecuted by Anthony Springer, Cincinnati Branch Chief, U.S. Attorney's Office, and was investigated by special agents of IRS-Criminal Investigation.

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