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Great Falls businessman sentenced for employment tax fraud

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Thomas O’Connell
Posted at 8:20 PM, Jun 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-25 22:20:52-04

GREAT FALLS — Thomas O’Connell was sentenced in federal court in Great Falls on Thursday for employment tax fraud, Acting U.S. Attorney Leif Johnson said in a news release.

O’Connell owned and operated three plumbing businesses: Quality Plumbing and Heating, Orbit Plumbing and Heating, and Orbit PHC.

From at least 2005 through 2016, O’Connell caused trust fund taxes to be withheld from employees’ wages and then did not pay employment taxes for several quarters.

Instead, he directed payments to other creditors and to his own personal expenses. The total tax loss to the IRS resulting from his conduct is more than $550,000.

O’Connell pleaded guilty on March 24 to willful failure to pay employment taxes.

Chief U.S. District Judge Brian Morris presided, and sentenced O'Connell to nine months in prison and ordered him to pay $148,735 in restitution.

O’Connell will serve an additional three years of supervised release.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Ryan Weldon and Trial Attorney Mark Determan of the Justice Department’s Tax Division prosecuted the case. The case was investigated by IRS-Criminal Investigation.