HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Former accountant Carl Nicholson has been found guilty on 11 felony counts, including conspiracy to defraud the United States government, four counts of false statement on income tax return and six counts of willfully aiding/assisting in preparation of false tax returns.
After hearing four days of testimony, the jury returned the verdict Friday after deliberating behind closed doors for more than two hours.
Nicholson, a founder of one of the largest accounting houses in Mississippi, is scheduled to be sentenced on May 23. He faces a maximum of 35 years in prison.
Mississippi State Auditor Shad White issued this statement after Nicholson’s conviction:
Evidence presented during the trial showed that Nicholson used money from his business to pay for personal expenses, which were then written off as business expenses on tax returns to avoid paying taxes owed.
Prosecutors said Nicholson conspired with a client to carry out the scheme in 2012, 2013 and 2014. In one case, court documents said, Nicholson directed a $250,000 payment to one of the client’s personal trusts be classified as a business expense.
Prosecutors said Nicholson also under-reported the profits from selling his accounting firm, Nicholson & Company. He was also found guilty of falsely filing his own personal income tax returns from 2012 to 2015.
“Today, justice prevailed, the rule of law was enforced, and a long-time tax cheat was held accountable for his crimes,” said U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst. “I commend our prosecutors, agents, and state investigators for their tireless work in bringing this individual and others like him to justice. Today’s verdict proves that no one is beyond the reach of the long arm of the law. We will continue to work with our partners and use every resource available to root out fraud and corruption throughout our state.”