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Minnesota Brothers Each Facing 29 Tax Felony Charges


Tue, Apr 13th, 2010
Posted in State of Minnesota

Saint Paul - The Minnesota Department of Revenue announced today that the Mille Lacs County Attorney's Office recently charged Todd Christenson, 50, of Fridley, and his brother Trent Christenson, 40, of Baxter, each with 29 felony tax crimes. They allegedly owe the state more than $69,000 in delinquent sales tax.



Todd and Trent each are charged with nine counts of making sales without a permit and 20 counts of willful tax evasion between 2008 and 2009.



According to the complaint, Todd and Trent bought a golf course in Garrison, Minnesota in 2003. After this, Todd was usually one to two years delinquent in filing sales tax returns for the golf course, and remitting the sales tax collected to the state.



As a result, the Minnesota Department of Revenue revoked the sales tax permit for the business. However, the business stayed open, which is a felony. In September 2008, Todd admitted he owed back taxes but claimed he was running the business under a tax permit issued for another organization. Department investigators later discovered this was not true.



In May 2009, the golf courses' website showed it was open for business. Later that month, department investigators seized nearly $2,000 from the business through a cash drawer levy. At the same time, the Christenson's were told that the new business registration they obtained was cancelled and it would be a felony to continue running the business.



A week later the business was open again. An anonymous letter claimed the two brothers were keeping the business open while removing and concealing funds. This cycle continued into fall 2009.



More than $50,000 in sales tax is owed to the state for the time period prior to the permit revocation. Another $14,000 is due for the July to October 2008 period and nearly $5,000 is due for the May through October 2009 period.



Each felony is punishable by up to five years in prison, up to a $10,000 fine, or both.



The Minnesota Department of Revenue has a 24-hour tip line for anyone who suspects an individual or business is violating tax laws, at (651) 297-5195 or 1-800-657-3500. Tipsters may remain anonymous and can also email the department at tax.fraud@state.mn.us. Last year, citizen tips resulted in 88 percent of the department's criminal case referrals.



The Minnesota Department of Revenue is dedicated to enforcing tax laws, collecting no more and no less than taxpayers owe. It takes progressively stricter measures against taxpayers who demonstrate that they will not voluntarily meet their obligations.



Follow the latest news and updates from the Department of Revenue on Twitter.

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