Sunday, April 13, 2008

Edmonds man pleads guilty to tax fraud

By Seattle Times staff

An Edmonds computer programmer faces up to three years in federal prison after pleading guilty to a charge that he filed a fraudulent tax return.

Lyle R. Larson, the 43-year-old owner of the software-development and computer-consulting company, Red Planet Corp., claimed he made less than $22,000 in 2000 — even though he earned more than $1.5 million that year, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office for Western Washington. He used his unreported earnings to buy cars, a yacht and real estate.

Larson pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Seattle on Friday. He is expected to be sentenced in July and faces a maximum punishment of three years behind bars, one year of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. Larson is also to pay full restitution and remains liable for civil penalties, interest and back taxes owed to the Internal Revenue Service.

"Cheating on your federal income taxes is a good way to get yourself federally prosecuted," said Special Agent Dan Wardlaw, a spokesman for the FBI in Seattle, which investigated Larson's case.

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