A Staten Island lawmaker could see his political career come to a screeching halt after pleading guilty to tax fraud last month. U.S. Rep. Michael Grimm (R-NY) pleaded guilty to one count of aiding in the filing of a false tax return, in 2009.
Grimm, an ex-Marine and FBI agent, now faces a maximum of three years in prison, which would force him to resign from Congress. His sentencing date has been scheduled for June 8, where a judge will decide his fate.
However, a much worse outcome was avoided thanks to Grimm’s attorneys. Grimm was set to go to trial on Feb. 2 on a 20-count indictment for evading taxes by underreporting income, paying workers off the books and hiring undocumented workers.
His attorneys were able to reach a plea agreement on Grimm’s behalf with prosecutors that could potentially lead to just probation, allowing Grimm to stay in politics. It is expected that the attorneys will base their argument against prison time on Grimm’s service as a Marine, FBI agent and congressman.
Still, even if he avoids prison time, Grimm could end up being kicked out of Congress by Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) who has shown impatience for lawmakers who engage in moral indiscretions, including members of his own party.
In a statement, Grimm showed remorse for his actions but also tried to downplay them saying that what he did was wrong, but common.
This is an important point to make regarding tax law, especially as tax season approaches. While cheating on taxes might be somewhat common and seem like not that big of a deal the IRS doesn’t accept either explanation as an excuse.
As Rep. Grimm now knows, even mistakes from years ago can come back to haunt you and potentially ruin your life. That’s why it’s so important to work with an experienced tax attorney to correct any wrongdoing before it is too late and the IRS is on your tail.