Courtesy of Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office via AP
Derek Chauvin, the ex-officer in Minneapolis charged in George Floyd’s death, is also facing several felony tax fraud charges, several outlets reported.
Chauvin and his estranged wife face six counts of filing false or fraudulent tax returns from 2014 to 2019, and three counts of failing to file from 2016 to 2018.
Chauvin is currently in custody with a $1.25 million bail for the charges relating to Floyd’s death.
His wife, Kellie Chauvin filed for divorce when he was charged in May.
Derek Chauvin, who faces second-degree murder charges tied to Floyd’s death, and his estranged wife Kellie May Chauvin, were charged with multiple felony counts of tax evasion in Washington County. The pair were charged with six counts of filing false or fraudulent tax returns from 2014 to 2019 and three counts of failing to file from 2016 to 2018, according to a statement from the Washington County Attorney’s Office.
“When you fail to fulfill the basic obligation to file and pay taxes, you are taking money from the pockets of citizens of Minnesota. Our office has and will continue to file these charges when presented. Whether you are a prosecutor or police officer, or you are doctor or a realtor, no one is above the law,” County Attorney Pete Orput said in the statement.
According to the Star Tribune, the Chauvins underreported $464,433 of income. At least $96,000 of the unreported income comes from Derek Chauvin’s off-duty security work, according to a criminal complaint seen by the AP. They owed $21,853 in taxes, which after interest and fees is now $37,868 of debt to the government, according to the complaint.
Other allegations in the complaint include that the Chauvins did not pay Minnesota taxes on a 2018 purchase of $100,000 BMW, that they bought from a Minnesota dealership but instead registered the car in Florida. Kellie Chauvin told prosecutors the car was registered in Florida because it was cheaper.
Chauvin is in jail for the charge relating to Floyd’s death. His bail was set for $1.25 million for that case. At the end of May, Floyd died after Chauvin kneeled on his neck for several minutes during an arrest. Chauvin and three other officers at the scene, Thomas Lane, J Alexander Kueng, and Tou Thao, were initially fired and all later faced charges from the encounter.
Kellie Chauvin, who filed for divorce after Chauvin was charged for Floyd’s death, is not in custody, the AP reported. However, she has been in contact with Chauvin about the investigation into their taxes.
According to the Independent, a judge ruled that the couple’s divorce file will be sealed over “constant harassment from the public,” on Wednesday.
The filing from Kellie Chauvin’s lawyer said that a social security number, as well as other financial information, was hacked, and as a result, there attempts to get thousands of dollars worth of cash advances.
“Allowing public access of this file will allow further harassment of Petitioner and not allow any privacy in this matter,” the filing said, according to the Tribune. “In addition, allowing public access will allow the public and media to have notice of when hearings occur and will allow the general public to know the whereabouts of each party during the proceedings. Such access will negatively affect the parties from a safety standpoint.”
The Tribune reported, that Derek Chauvin’s father, an accountant, prepared the couple’s taxes in 2014 and 2015 based on the information they gave him. Investigators searched his home. He had also filed an extension for their 2016 returns but the couple never gave him the information to finish them.
Orput told the Tribune that the investigation into the tax fraud was ongoing prior to the charges stemming from Floyd’s death.
According to the Tribune, state Department of Revenue officials told Orput in June 2020 that they sent Chauvin letters last year and got no response, but when he made national headlines after the death of Floyd, the revenue officials “read the guy’s name and realize this is their guy.”
“The guy owes us money, and I want to collect. I don’t care about his other problems,” Orput told the Tribune.
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