The United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Vermont said Blakely H. Jenkins, Sr., 61, of St. Johnsbury, Vermont, was sentenced today to one year and one day in prison for tax evasion and committing identity theft while running his St. Louis-based painting business. Johnsbury, Blake Jenkins Painting, Inc. United States District Judge William K. Sessions III also ordered Jenkins to serve a two-year term of supervised release.
In February 2022, Jenkins pleaded guilty to two counts of employment tax evasion and one count of identity theft. According to records and court filings, Jenkins evaded employment taxes from mid-2015 to mid-2020 by paying his employees wages “off the books” either in cash or in checks falsely marked as non-salary purposes. Jenkins took a number of steps to execute this plan, including falsifying records, creating false documents, and signing another person’s name without permission. Every employment tax return Jenkins’ company filed with the Internal Revenue Service during this period contained false information that significantly underreported the amounts Jenkins paid his employees. In total, Jenkins’ company failed to report over $1.3 million in employee wages, resulting in over $340,000 in unpaid federal taxes.
“The investigation and prosecution of white collar crimes is a top priority of the US Attorney’s Office,” said United States Attorney Nicholas P. Kerest. “We will continue to work closely with the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Division and our other excellent law enforcement partners to hold accountable those who line their own pockets at the expense of others, whether by avoiding the obligations of their tax evasion, collecting benefits to which they are not entitled, or defrauding victim individuals or companies.”
“The IRS Criminal Investigation Division takes these violations of the law very seriously,” said Joleen D. Simpson, Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation, Boston Office. “By not reporting all wages to the IRS, hardworking employees may not be able to access all the Social Security, Medicare and Unemployment Compensation they are entitled to. Employers have an obligation to their employees to not only accurately report all wages, but to pay over all withholding taxes. Investigating employment tax fraud is a priority for IRS Criminal Investigation special agents as we strive to protect the trust individuals place in their employers to ensure their future benefits are secure.
The United States was represented in the case by Assistant US Attorney Nicole Cate. Jody Frey, Esq. represented the defendant.