Jacksonville, Florida – United States Attorney Roger B. Handberg announces that Patrick Brian Hines has pleaded guilty to willful evasion of the payment of taxes. Hines faces a maximum penalty of 5 years in federal prison and has agreed to pay restitution to the IRS in the amount of $1,927,077.90.
According to the plea agreement, Hines owned and operated telecommunication companies from 2004 through 2011. In April 2011, after several lawsuits against the entities and Hines, the entities filed for bankruptcy. In 2012, a new telecommunication company was established in Hines’s wife’s name. Hines operated the company through nominees for his personal benefit from 2012 through 2018, during which time the company generated more than $4 million in revenue. The Federal Communications Commission issued a forfeiture order for the previous entities and Hines to pay $1.6 million. In addition, in 2016, the California
Public Utilities Commission filed a complaint against Hines and his companies, which resulted in a finding that Hines was responsible for $9.8 million plus interest, which remains outstanding. Hines used multiple nominee owners for the new company in an attempt to distance himself from the company, and to evade and defeat the payment of income taxes and other obligations.
From 2012 through 2018, Hines arranged for $2.5 million to be spent on personal expenses from nominee accounts, to include $38,000 in personal training sessions, dues for two private clubs, $275,000 in mortgage payments for a multimillion-dollar residence, and tuition for his children’s private schooling.
Hines and his spouse continued to reside in a house on Ponte Vedra Boulevard until it was sold in May 2016 for $5.3 million. Hines and his spouse personally benefitted over $1.79 million through the sale of the residence. Hines had outstanding taxes due to the IRS for tax years 2010, 2011, and 2014. Beginning as early as November 28, 2011, the IRS sent Hines collection notices of his unpaid taxes, yet Hines failed to pay. Despite advice from his accountant to pay his taxes, Hines claimed to be “broke” and living off of the proceeds from the sale of the house. On June 29, 2016, Hines filed an IRS Form 433-A, in which he falsely claimed to have no income, but was supported by his spouse who gave him $3,479 per month, even though he knew that he had received the personal benefit of at least $2 million from 2012 through 2018. Hines has accrued penalties and interest as a result of his delinquent taxes, resulting in total outstanding balance of $1,927,077.90.
“Spending money on personal trainers, private schools and private clubs instead of fulfilling legal tax obligations is a disgrace and a theft from the American public,” said Brian Payne, IRS-CI Special Agent in Charge. “Hines’ plea should help reassure honest taxpayers that those who are not paying their fair share will be held responsible.”
This case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigations. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Kelly S. Karase.