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Brighton man sentenced to 366 days in federal prison for tax evasion

Posted at 8:53 PM, Jan 10, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-10 22:53:32-05

DENVER — A Brighton man was sentenced to 12 months and one day in federal prison for tax evasion, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Colorado announced Wednesday.

The attorney's office, citing a plea agreement, said Steven Darbee, 50, last filed a tax return with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in 2014.

From April 2013 to January 2021, Darbee submitted false Form W-4s to his employers claiming multiple dependents so his employers would not withhold federal income tax, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. Darbee, who was only allowed to claim two allowances, claimed up to 99 dependants during that time period, the U.S. Attorney's Office said. In 2021, he claimed that he was "exempt" from paying federal taxes.

According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, Darbee had an opportunity to pay the due taxes by the April filing date and did not do so. He also did not file a tax return for any of the years in question.

“Our office will hold tax cheats accountable,” said United States Attorney Cole Finegan in a statement. “Everyone must pay their taxes, and if you don’t, there will be consequences.”

“Attempting to defraud the IRS by falsifying Form W-4s unfairly shifts the tax burden to honest American taxpayers and criminals must know they will not get away with it,” said IRS Criminal Investigation (CI) Special Agent in Charge, Todd Martin in a statement. “CI special agents identified more than $5.5 billion in tax fraud last year and we will remain committed to holding tax cheats accountable.”

Darbee was sentenced to 366 days in federal prison Wednesday. He was also ordered to pay $308,370.59 to the IRS in taxes, interest and penalties.

After his release, Darbee will serve three years on supervised release.

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