Alaska Businesswoman Indicted on Tax Evasion and Filing False Tax Returns

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FILE PHOTO: American flag waves outside the U.S. Department of Justice Building in Washington

ANCHORAGE – An indictment was unsealed charging an Alaska businesswoman with tax evasion and filing false tax returns that underreported income from the business she owned.

The indictment charges that from approximately 2014 through 2018, Tina H. Yi, of Nome and Anchorage, evaded approximately $1.5 million in federal income taxes and filed false personal tax returns with the IRS. Yi was the sole owner and operator of SJ Investment LLC, a hotel, bar and liquor store that did business as Polaris HBL. According to the indictment, Yi created the business in approximately April 2007 and operated it in Nome until approximately October 2017, when the physical property was destroyed in a fire. 

Yi allegedly maintained two sets of books and records relating to the business’s income and expenses for 2014 through 2017 – one of which accurately captured SJ Investment’s income and expenses, and one that understated the company’s income. Yi allegedly provided the false records to her accountant to use to prepare her tax returns for each year. By allegedly providing business records to her accountant that falsified SJ Investment’s income, Yi ensured that her personal tax returns – on which she reported SJ Investment’s income – would be false for each year. For 2018, Yi allegedly used a different tax preparer. She allegedly provided that preparer with false information as well, ensuring that her 2018 tax return also was false. In total, Yi allegedly did not report to the IRS more than $3.2 million in income from SJ Investment.

Yi made her initial court appearance yesterday afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Matthew M. Scoble of the U.S. District Court for the District of Alaska. If convicted, she faces a maximum of five years in prison for each of five counts of tax evasion and three years in prison for each of five counts of filing a false tax return. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stuart M. Goldberg of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and U.S. Attorney S. Lane Tucker for the District of Alaska made the announcement.

IRS-Criminal Investigation is investigating the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Emily Allen and George Tran and Trial Attorney Ahmed Almudallal of the Tax Division are prosecuting the case.

An indictment is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

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