Alaska Harvesters Sentenced on Tax Charges

Two harvesters from Southeast Alaska who owed more than $300,000 in income taxes from earnings on commercial fisheries will serve a year and a day in federal prison, under sentences handed down in US District Court in Juneau, Alaska.

Judge Timothy M. Burgess sentenced Archie W, Demmert III, 58 and Roseann L. Demmert, 61, on two counts of willful failure to pay income tax. As part of their plea agreements, the Demmerts will pay restitution to the IRS for the calendar years charged covering 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014.

The Demmerts both had commercial fishing permits for herring spawn on kelp, and Archie Demmert had an additional commercial fishing permit for a salmon purse seine. The Demmerts admitted in court that they earned income from commercial fishing for over a decade, from 2006 to 2014, but willfully chose not to pay over $300,000 in income taxes, excluding penalties and interest.

Court documents showed they had a long history, dating back to at least 1994, of avoiding most of their tax obligations, and have not made any payments toward their taxes to the present day. Instead they spent their money on travel and gambling in casinos.

The investigation, conducted by IRA criminal investigators, showed that the couple spent thousands of dollars gambling in casinos in Las Vegas and Washington, despite telling the IRS that they had no way of paying their tax bills, according to office of the US, Attorney District of Alaska.