New Mexico Farmer Ordered to Pay $18 Million for Tax Fraud
(HOBBS, N.M.) -- A New Mexico farmer convicted of tax fraud was sentenced to 14 years in prison and over $18 million in restitution on Friday. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Bill Melot failed to file a personal income tax return since 1986, and owes over $25 million in federal taxes plus $7 million in taxes to the state of Texas.
Melot also collected over $225,000 in federal farm subsidies after furnishing false information to the United States Department of Agriculture. Court documents showed that Melot took steps to conceal his ownership of 250 acres of land in New Mexico -- notarizing forged deeds, titling the property in other people's names. He also maintained an account with a Swiss bank in the Bahamas that he failed to report to the U.S. Treasury Department.
Following his conviction, Melot will spend 14 years in prison, which will be followed by three years of supervised release. He will also have to pay back $18,469,998 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service and $226,526 to the USDA.
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