TAMPA -- Acting U.S. Attorney Lee Bentley announced a federal jury Thursday found Gregory Albert Darst , 71, Palmetto, guilty of one count of attempted interference with the Internal Revenue laws and four counts of willfully failing to file income tax returns.
Darst, indicted April 11, faces a maximum penalty of seven years in federal prison.
Darst has not filed a federal income tax return since 1989.
During the years charged in the indictment, Darst earned income from his operation of a mobile home park in Largo, which exceeded the minimum amount required to file annual tax returns.
Darst also engaged in a lengthy, coordinated effort to obstruct administration of tax laws. He sent fraudulent documents to the IRS purporting to pay off his tax debt; attempted to retaliate against several IRS employees by making false accusations of misconduct; and sent threatening correspondence to a private citizen who purchased property from Darst, which was encumbered by valid IRS levies and liens.
"Convictions, like the one returned against Mr. Darst today, send a loud and clear message that regardless of their opinions, people who willfully defy the tax laws will be fully investigated, prosecuted and subjected to the full punishment of the law," said Special Agent-in Charge James Robnett of the IRS Criminal Investigation Tampa Field Office. "Those Americans who file accurate, honest and timely returns can be assured that the government will hold accountable those who don't."
The case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Mueller.