Bend Plumber Sentenced in Federal Court for Tax Crime - Arnold Law in Eugene, Oregon – Powerful Advocacy. Proven Results.

Bend Plumber Sentenced in Federal Court for Tax Crime

Man advises small businesses to always hire a bookkeeper.

01.05.2016 – Today a plumbing contractor formerly from Bend, Oregon, was sentenced for filing a false tax return.  Gary Ford was accused of not reporting all of his income to the IRS.

At the lengthy contested sentencing hearing, the United States government attorney called two witnesses in an attempt to convince the U.S. District Court Judge to send Mr. Ford to prison for twenty-four months (two years).  He did this by attempting to prove a large restitution amount and tax loss.


Ford was represented by attorney Robert Barnes of Los Angeles and Eugene federal criminal defense attorneys Mike Arnold and Jessica May. Barnes is a celebrity California tax lawyer who is well known for winning a jury acquittal for Blade action star Wesley Snipes on the major tax fraud charges brought against the actor.

“The issues at the federal sentencing hearing involved what was the actual loss to the government,” attorney Mike Arnold said.  “The U.S. Attorney, the probation officer, and the criminal defense team all had differing values of the actual tax loss for sentencing purposes.”

The tax loss amount is critical for restitution calculations: the greater the tax loss, the more of a chance for a longer prison sentence under the federal sentencing guidelines.

The goals of the tax system and sentencing system in general were the issues in the hearing. “From Mr. Ford’s perspective, the purpose of the sentencing was to fairly evaluate the amount of the tax loss and not inflate the numbers,” criminal defense attorney Jessica May stated.

On cross-examination of the federal tax agent, defense attorney Barnes pointed out that the IRS never notified Ford of any tax deficiencies before making a federal criminal case out of it.  Instead he pointed out that they went directly to a criminal investigation.

“The IRS never had the common courtesy to notify Mr. Ford what he owed,” Arnold said.  “Instead they played a game of gotcha,” Arnold continued.

At the conclusion of the hearing, the defense asked for a probationary sentence and the federal government asked for a 24-month guideline sentence.  In the end, Judge Ann Aiken, after careful consideration, sentenced Mr. Ford to 18 months in prison, which effectively means that he will be out of custody anytime after nine to fifteen months, depending on good time and halfway house release opportunities.

Gary Ford reacted to the sentence with understanding and acceptance. He stated, “My advice is don’t try to cut corners and save money by doing books yourself.  It’s better in the long run to hire a competent bookkeeper.  I’m a plumber and a businessman, not an accountant.  Lesson learned and new lessons to be learned through this journey care of the Bureau of Prisons.”

Summit Plumbing in Bend will remain open under the management of Kevin Ford.

For more information about the legal case, call Jessica May or Mike Arnold at 541-338-9111.

Interpreters Available