Former Henderson firefighter Dwight C. Jackson was sentenced Monday to 21 months in federal prison for tax crimes.
A federal jury convicted Jackson in October of five counts of trying to evade more than $130,000 in taxes between 2004 and 2008.
Jackson, 53, also was convicted of making fraudulent claims on his 2009 tax return. Federal prosecutors alleged Jackson falsely stated he had no income that year, though records showed the city of Henderson paid him $247,492.
Between 2004 and 2009, Jackson earned nearly $800,000 as a firefighter, prosecutors said.
On Monday, Senior U.S. District Judge Philip Pro ordered Jackson, who retired in 2009 after 23 years on the job, to pay the Internal Revenue Service $177,310 in restitution and serve three years of supervised release after prison.
Pro gave Jackson until July 24 to surrender so he can get treatment for what his lawyer called a life-threatening blood disorder.
Jackson, who now lives in St. George, Utah, did not speak on his own behalf, but Assistant Federal Public Defender Richard Boulware asked Pro for a sentence of 10 months of home detention, citing the blood disorder and Jackson’s long record of community service.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Gregory Damm told the judge that Jackson still can’t “accept the fact that he broke the law” and argued for a 27-month sentence, the maximum recommended by probation officers.
Pro agreed Jackson appeared “unrepentant” for his crimes but said 21 months was sufficient punishment.
He told Jackson he thought the former firefighter had been “sold a bill of goods” about the nation’s revenue laws.
Afterward, Paul Camacho, special agent in charge of IRS criminal investigation in Las Vegas, issued a statement praising the sentence.
“For all of us in public service we are profoundly aware that our salaries come from taxes,” Camacho said. “It would be insulting to all the hardworking Americans who paid these taxes for any of us to willfully evade paying our fair share. This sentence is a strong message to anyone who chooses satisfying greed over duty.”
During Jackson’s three-day trial, Damm argued Jackson went on a six-year “quest to defraud” the IRS.
He grossly underestimated his wages and submitted false exemptions claiming he didn’t have to pay federal taxes on his firefighter’s salary, Damm said.
Jackson carried out the scheme with the help of James A. Mattatall, a Southern California man adept at disrupting the administration of the tax laws, Damm said.
The two men met in Las Vegas at a gathering of members of the anti-government “sovereign citizens” movement, Damm said.
Thousands of Americans in the movement across the country have declared themselves above the government’s jurisdiction and not obligated to pay taxes. Federal authorities have prosecuted several sovereign citizen members and leaders in Las Vegas in the past several years.
Contact Jeff German at email@example.com or 702-380-8135.