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FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen at the United States Department of Justice headquarters in Washington, D.C.

A co-owner of a group of eight Georgia bars pleaded guilty today to tax evasion. 

According to court documents and statements made in court, William Britt engaged in a scheme to evade taxes owed to the IRS on income from bars he and others owned. Although each establishment had a nominal sole owner, in reality the bars all had a group of co-owners, including Britt, with varying percentages of ownership. Britt held an ownership interest in entities such as Chrysha Inc., which operated a bar in Statesboro, and BGRG Inc., which operated a bar and a restaurant in Milledgeville. Britt, along with the other true owners, shared in the bars’ profits in proportion to their respective ownership percentages.

Britt provided false information to an accountant for the preparation of tax returns related to some of the businesses. Specifically, Britt misrepresented the businesses’ true ownership, understated the bars’ income and omitted cash distributions to the owners. This conduct caused Britt and other owners of the bars to file false tax returns with the IRS by paying less than their actual income tax liabilities. Through his guilty plea, Britt admitted to willfully underreporting his income on his 2014 individual tax return.

Last month, James Stafford, who was nominally the sole owner of Chrysha Inc. and BGRG Inc., also pleaded guilty to tax evasion as part of the same scheme.

Britt will be sentenced at a later date and faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison. He also faces a period of supervised release, restitution and monetary penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

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Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stuart M. Goldberg of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and U.S. Attorney David Estes for the Southern District of Georgia made the announcement.

IRS-Criminal Investigation and the FBI are investigating the case.

Assistant Chief David Zisserson and Trial Attorney Casey Smith of the Tax Division, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Georgia, are prosecuting the case.

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