Charges date back to tax years 2016-21

The Minnesota Department of Revenue has announced that the Otter Tail County Attorney’s Office recently charged Richard Paul Fletcher and Julie Ann Fletcher, both of Ottertail, each with:

• Six felony counts of filing false or fraudulent income tax returns

• Six felony counts of failing to pay income tax

• Six felony counts of failing to file partnership tax returns

• Six felony counts of failing to file sales and use tax returns

• Six gross misdemeanor counts of making taxable sales without a permit

The complaints allege that Fletchers knowingly filed false individual income tax returns in Minnesota and failed to pay income tax for tax years 2016 through 2021. The also allegedly failed to file partnership tax returns and sales and use tax returns for their business, Loon Promotions, LLC, for those tax years and made taxable sales without a permit. 

According to the complaints, the Fletchers falsely claimed North Dakota residency while living year-round in Minnesota to take advantage of North Dakota’s lower income tax rate. The complaints state that department investigators determined that the Fletchers met several of the factors used to determine Minnesota residency including the location of their home and business in Ottertail and their banking history. The Fletchers allegedly owe more than $97,000 in tax, penalties and interest.

Each tax-related felony charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison, a $10,000 fine, or both. Each tax-related gross misdemeanor charge carries a maximum penalty of one year in prison, a $3,000 fine, or both. Defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Although most taxpayers comply with tax laws voluntarily, the department takes enforcement action against noncompliant taxpayers to ensure that tax laws are administered fairly.

Many of the department’s criminal case referrals come from public tips. There is a 24-hour tip line for anyone who suspects that a person or business is violating Minnesota tax laws. Local callers may dial (651) 297-5195 or call toll-free by dialing 1-800-657-3500. Tips can also be submitted to the department by email at tax.fraud@state.mn.us. Tipsters may choose to remain anonymous.