ELLSWORTH — Attorney General Aaron Frey announced April 9 that in the year since Maine recorded its first case of COVID-19, the Office of the Attorney General has continued to work with Maine Revenue Services to prosecute tax evaders and to ensure that all people pay their fair share of taxes.
From March 12, 2020, to March 8, 2021, the Attorney General’s Office, working with Maine Revenue Services, resolved 14 criminal prosecutions, which included Hancock County resident Dana Betts.
The AG said on March 12, 2020, Betts pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count of theft by deception of federal income tax refunds and five misdemeanor counts of intentional evasion of Maine income tax and was sentenced to 364 days, all but 70 days suspended, and one year of administrative release.
Conditions of administrative release include timely and truthfully filing and paying taxes and making regular payments toward the restitution of $36,724.32, the attorney general stated.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has been a challenge for all Mainers,” said Frey. “My office has taken into account the hardships that Mainers have been experiencing, but we all must do our part to comply with the tax and criminal laws of our state, particularly since taxes fund the essential services we rely on. Nearly all of us have experienced financial difficulty at one time or another, but that is no excuse to habitually and intentionally shirk legal duties and obligations, and my office will continue to pursue those who do so.”
Maine Revenue Services’ Criminal Investigations Unit investigated the cases and Assistant Attorneys General Gregg Bernstein and Elizabeth T. Weyl prosecuted them for the Criminal Division of the Office of the Attorney General.