A Collinsville pharmacist pleaded guilty Thursday to failing to account for and pay over employment taxes, said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard E. Zuckerman of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and U.S. Thomas T. Cullen for the Western District of Virginia, according to a release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
According to court documents, Jerry R. Harper, Jr., 61, owned and operated Family Discount Pharmacy, Inc. (FDP) in Stanleytown, with multiple locations in Stuart, Rocky Mount, Chatham, and Brosville, according to a release.
As owner of FDP, Harper was responsible for collecting and paying over FDP’s employment taxes. From 1998 through 2014, FDP accrued employment tax liabilities of more than $5 million. Harper withheld these taxes from FDP employees’ wages, but did not pay the taxes to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). In more than 15 years, Harper only filed one employment tax return with the IRS, the release stated.
Harper admitted that instead of providing the employment taxes to the IRS, he caused FDP to pay his personal expenses, according to the release.
For example, Harper wired more than $1 million to his personal bank account, made more than $500,000 in stock market investments, spent more than $100,000 on his son’s pharmacy school tuition, and purchased more than $370,000 of real property in Virginia and North Carolina. Harper also used part of the money to purchase a Jeep Grand Cherokee and a jet ski, the release stated.
The “guilty plea sends a clear message that this type of conduct will not be tolerated,” Zuckerman said in the release. “Employment tax violations represent tens of billions of dollars in lost revenue to the U.S. Treasury and the Justice Department is committed to prosecuting individuals involved in these tax frauds.”
Sentencing is set for October 26, 2018. Harper faces a statutory maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, a period of supervised release, restitution, and monetary penalties, the release stated.