Friday, March 1, 2024

Williamsburg Man Sentenced for Tax Fraud

A Williamsburg businessman has been sentenced for tax fraud (Pexels/Tima Miroshnichenka)

NEWPORT NEWS — A Williamsburg businessman has been sentenced for tax fraud.

Michael Tiernan of Williamsburg was convicted on October 25, 2021 on charges of filing false tax returns and failure to file a tax return.

Court documents showed that from at least 2014 through 2017, Tiernan served as the financial officer for several business entities related to Ford’s Colony, including Ford’s Colony Realty, LLC. He was also noted as having been the former co-owner, chief financial officer, and controller of Ford’s Colony Reality and Southeast Settlement and Title, LLC.

On September 9, 2020, Tiernan was indicted in federal court on seven felony counts of bank fraud, two felony counts of filing false tax returns, and one count of failure to file income tax. His jury trial began on October 19, 2021.

In court documents presented during the trial, during the tax years for 2015 and 2016, Tiernan falsely understated the income in which he received from the aforementioned entities in his federal income tax filings. While earnings were stated in the filings, Tiernan reported high deductions which resulted in zero taxable income for those years. Additionally, he also claimed to be insolvent as a means to exclude discharge of debt in 2015.

In 2015, Tiernan reported that the income he received was $289,401 and, in 2016, $204,523. He did not file a tax return for 2017.

Additionally, evidence showed that Tiernan cashed checks into his personal bank account that were written by him and by the aforementioned business entities. These amounts totaled more than $1.6 million. Tiernan then used checks and debit cards to spend almost the entirety of these funds.

Tiernan then prepared and filed business tax returns for said business entities that concealed the true amount of compensation that he received.

While Tiernan’s sentencing was originally scheduled to take place on March 2, a motion was filed to continue this phase. On February 22, the motion was accepted and his sentencing was then scheduled for April 20.

On Wednesday (April 20), United States District Judge, the Honorable Raymond A. Jackson, finalized Tiernan’s sentence to include 27 months in prison and an order to pay an amount totaling $111,079.32 in restitution to the United States Internal Revenue Service.

At the behest of the court, Tiernan is ordered to surrender himself for imprisonment by 2 p.m. on April 29.

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