Springs business owner indicted for tax fraud

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A Colorado Springs business owner was indicted by a federal grand jury March 26 on charges of filing false income tax returns and evading reporting requirements.

The office of Colorado U.S. Attorney John Walsh and IRS Special Agent Steven Osborne announced in Wednesday that Lisabeth Melahn, 53, of Colorado Springs, is scheduled to appear before a U.S. Magistrate Judge April 10 to face the charges.

Melahn, who owns Tan Your Hide, a tanning salon business with seven locations in the Springs, “subscribed personal income tax returns for the 2008 through 2010 tax years, knowing that the income from her S-corporation, Tan Your Hide II, listed on those tax returns was substantially understated,” according to the release.

The indictment charges that between March 31, 2010 and July 8, 2010, Melahn caused cash deposits totaling over $10,000 to be made to her personal account at American National Bank,  which were split in order to circumvent the requirement that currency transactions of over $10,000 be reported, according to the release. The total of the structured deposits alleged in the indictment totaled over $100,000.

“Filing true and timely income tax returns is not only a civic duty, it is also a legal obligation,” Walsh said in the release.  “Those who evade paying income taxes, either by not filing, or in this case, by not providing accurate income information, can end up being prosecuted to the fullest extent of federal law.”

Melahn was charged with three counts of subscribing to a false income tax return, each of which carries a penalty up to three years in federal prison and a fine of up to $250,000.  She is also charged with eight counts of structuring deposits to evade reporting requirements.  Those charges carry a penalty of up to 10 years in federal prison and a fine of up to $500,000 per count. Included in the indictment is a notice of forfeiture for any property traceable to the structuring charges alleged in the indictment, according to the release.

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