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Tyler attorney gets jail time, must pay $29K restitution for not paying taxes

John Bennett White, IV (from previous arrrest)
John Bennett White, IV (from previous arrrest)(Smith County Judicial Records)
Published: Sep. 15, 2021 at 5:41 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 15, 2021 at 5:45 PM CDT
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TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - A Tyler attorney was sentenced Wednesday for federal employment tax violations.

John Bennett White IV, 61, pleaded guilty in February for failure to pay employment taxes. On Sept. 15, he was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment and two years supervised release. He must pay $29,402.08 restitution. He was ordered to report to designated facility on or before 60 days

“Mr. White withheld taxes from his employees’ paychecks but repeatedly failed to turn those funds over to the IRS,” U.S. Attorney Nicholas Ganjei said. “White instead chose to pocket his employees’ tax payments to fund his lifestyle. This sort of conduct harms every taxpayer, not only because of the lost public revenue, but also because of the expense of recovering the lost funds from individuals such as White.”

White was an attorney and firm manager for a Tyler law firm, J. Bennett White, P.C., where White had significant control over the finances of the firm and had a duty to account for and pay over the employment taxes on behalf of the firm’s employees to the IRS.

Between the second quarter of 2007 and the fourth quarter of 2015, White made sporadic and partial efforts to pay his firm’s employment tax liabilities. For multiple quarters during the same period White caused employment taxes to be withheld from the law firm’s employees’ wages, but willfully failed to fully pay those trust fund taxes of to the IRS. White filed Forms 941 reporting the law firm’s employment taxes for each of these quarters. White paid the full amount owed the IRS for 24 of those 38 quarters. White made partial payments on 10 occasions and no payment for seven quarters. In total, White caused a tax loss of over $300,000. Instead of paying employment taxes, White paid other creditors and his own personal expenses, according to the U.S. District Attorney’s office.

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