Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals - Published Opinions

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Croteau: 56-month sentence for filing fraudulent tax returns

In U.S. v. Croteau, No. 15-11720 (April 11, 2016), the Court affirmed convictions for making fraudulent claims on tax returns, and corruptly interfering with the administration of internal revenue laws. Rejecting a sufficiency of the evidence, the Court noted that Croteau began filing his tax returns on his own based on theories espouses by the tax-protesting group he had joined, in a method inconsistent with how he had always filed his taxes before. In addition, the IRS warned several times that there was no basis in law for his filings. Further, the jury, once Croteau testified, was entitled to disbelieve his testimony and conclude that the opposite “is true.” Finally, Croteau got the benefit of a “good faith defense” jury instruction. Turning to sentencing, the Court rejected Croteau’s challenge to the reasonableness of his 56-month sentence.