Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer charged with second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the death of George Floyd, has been charged alongside his estranged wife with nine counts of felony tax evasion.
What We Know:
- Chauvin and his wife, Kellie May Chauvin, who filed for divorce from the former police officer in June, have been charged with “multiple tax-related felonies,” the Washington County prosecutor’s office announced on Wednesday. They are accused of underreporting their joint income from 2014 through 2019 by $464,433 as well as failing to file individual tax returns from 2016 to 2019.
- The charges are the result of an investigation conducted by the Minnesota Department of Revenue and the Oakdale Police Department. “The complaints detail that the Chauvins, both employed and domiciled in Minnesota, failed to file income tax returns and pay state income taxes, underreported and underpaid taxes on income generated from various employments each year, and failed to pay proper sales tax on a vehicle purchased in Minnesota,” the office said in a statement.
- The couple is charged with six counts of filing false or fraudulent tax returns for the years spanning from 2014 through 2019 as well as three counts of failing to file tax returns in 2016, 2017 and 2018. The complaints also allege that the Chauvins knew of the requirement to file state income tax returns due to their filings in past years, along with multiple correspondences sent in 2019 regarding their missing 2016 individual income tax returns.
- Each charge carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine, which means if convicted, the couple could each face a maximum of 45 years in prison, have to pay a $90,000 fine, or both.
- Washington County Attorney Pete Orput, who announced the charges, said that Floyd’s death had no bearing on the decision to prosecute the tax evasion case. “Everybody’s got to be held to account,” Orput said. “Whether you are a prosecutor or police officer, or you are a doctor or a realtor, no one is above the law.” Orput added he has made no decision yet whether to seek prison time for the Chauvins.
- The prosecutor’s office said the charges only relate to state income taxes, not federal taxes or Florida state taxes, where the couple owns a second home.
- The Associated Press says Kellie’s divorce attorney, whom she hired to file for divorce less than a week after Floyd’s death, did not return a call seeking comment and on Wednesday Eric Nelson, Derek Chauvin’s attorney on the murder charges, had no comment on the tax charges.
Derek Chauvin is currently in custody due to the pending murder charges, with his bail set at $1.25 million. Kellie is not currently in custody.