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North Iowa brothers who ran farming operation together sentenced to federal prison for tax evasion

CEDAR RAPIDS – Two brothers who ran a farming operation together while also farming their own land were sentenced today to federal prison for evading taxes.

Scott Stecher, age 61, and Doug Stecher, age 58, from Clarion, Iowa, received the prison terms after each pled guilty to tax evasion on December 9, 2020.

At the guilty pleas, each brother admitted that each took steps to hide income from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to evade paying income taxes. Information from their plea agreements and from their sentencing hearings showed that, for tax years 2011 through 2013, each brother diverted income from their farming operations into bank accounts that their accountant did not know about. The accountant then prepared tax returns for each brother, which they then signed knowing that the tax returns were false because the returns did not report each brother’s full income. During those three tax years, Doug Stecher hid $718,995 of income from the IRS and paid $240,053 less in income tax than he should have paid. Scott Stecher hid $448,059 of income from the IRS and paid $183,785 less in income tax as a result.

The Stechers were sentenced in Sioux City by United States District Court Chief Judge Leonard T. Strand. Each was sentenced to one month of imprisonment and fined $30,000. They must also serve a two-year term of supervised release after the prison term. There is no parole in the federal system.

“Our federal income tax system requires taxpayers to be honest,” said Acting United States Attorney Sean R. Berry. “These sentences show that hiding income from the IRS to avoid paying taxes is a crime with significant consequences. In this case those consequences include federal prison.”

“Today’s sentencings of Scott Stecher and Doug Stecher show that enforcement of our tax laws is vital to maintaining a fair and honest system,” said David Talcott, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the IRS Criminal Investigation division in the St. Louis Field Office. “There are consequences for individuals who intentionally conceal income and evade taxes that includes going to jail and paying back all the taxes owed plus steep penalties and interest.”

Both Scott and Doug Stecher were released on the bond previously set and are to surrender to the Bureau of Prisons on a date yet to be set.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Anthony Morfitt and investigated by the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division.

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