Fake money still a growing problem

SPRINGFIELD – A Tuscola businessman appeared before U.S. District Judge Sue E. Myerscough to charges accusing him of income tax evasion.

48-year-old Lorenzo Shane Stewart, owner of Ten Acres Excavating, pled guilty on Friday, August 21, to two counts of income tax evasion. Stewart admitted during court proceedings that he failed to pay more than $1.12 million in income tax for the 2008 and 2009 tax years.

He began conducting his excavation and construction business under the name Ten Acre Excavating, but he put the business under the name of one of his employees. Although he operated the business and received the income generated, Stewart did not claim income generated by the business on his tax returns.

Stewart’s business performed work on several natural gas pipeline substations in the Tuscola area in July 2008. He and his employees received checks related to the work totaling approximately $1.7 million in 2008 and $5.9 million in 2009.

He then claimed his adjusted gross income for 2008 was $74,199, when in fact, it was $279,803. His 2009 adjusted gross income was reported as $257,361, when it was actually $3,044,980.

Each count of income tax evasion carries a penalty of up to five years in prison, a $100,000 fine plus the costs of prosecution and restitution.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Eugene L. Miller. The charges are the result of an investigation by the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division.