St. Joseph woman sentenced for $1.5 million tax fraud scheme

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. – A St. Joseph woman was sentenced in federal court Tuesday for her role in a $1.5 million tax fraud scheme as well as for individual tax fraud.

Timothy A. Garrison, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that Dawn Langlais (formerly Ankrom-Brown), 60, of St. Joseph, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Beth Phillips to 18 months in federal prison without parole.

On July 7, 2017, Langlais pleaded guilty to failing to pay over employee payroll taxes to the IRS. Her daughter, her sister, and her sister’s husband have also pleaded guilty.

Langlais helped her sister and co-defendant Dinorah Lynn Stoll-Weaver, 50, of St. Joseph, operate Homeward Bound Health Services, Inc., a home health provider located in St. Joseph, from 2001 through early 2010. Stoll-Weaver was the owner of Homeward Bound. In 2010, Homeward Bound’s name was changed to Silver Linings, Inc., and nominee owners were put in place who signed the checks but made no business decisions. Stoll-Weaver and Langlais continued to operate Silver Linings until it closed in 2013.

Homeward Bound and Silver Linings withheld and collected federal income taxes, Social Security taxes, and Medicare taxes from employees and then kept those withheld taxes instead of paying them over to the IRS. The total criminal tax loss attributed to Homeward Bound and Silver Linings for failure to pay employment taxes due and owing from 2001 to 2012 is $1,459,727.

Homeward Bound and Silver Linings also withheld from employee paychecks and kept child support payments, employee IRA contributions, and medical and dental insurance payments. The theft of these payments had negative collateral consequences for their employees.

Langlais and Stoll-Weaver admitted they received income from Homeward Bound and Silver Linings, which they failed to report on their individual federal income tax forms, and as a result, underpaid their federal income taxes. Langlais willfully failed to make an income tax return or pay personal income taxes from 2010 to 2012, for a total personal tax loss of $56,860.

Stoll-Weaver employed her husband, co-defendant Thad Weaver, 46, of St. Joseph, and Langlais employed her daughter, co-defendant Jennifer Sturgis, 39, of St. Joseph, at Homeward Bound and Silver Linings. They also employed other relatives at the business.

Stoll-Weaver also pleaded guilty to failing to pay over employee payroll taxes to the IRS. Weaver and Sturgis each pleaded guilty to making false statements on a tax return. Weaver and Sturgis admitted they received income from Homeward Bound and Silver Linings, which they failed to report on their individual federal income tax forms, and as a result, underpaid their federal income taxes.

Weaver and Stoll-Weaver were married and filed individual income tax returns for 2010 through 2012; Stoll-Weaver filed a separate return in 2009. Their combined unreported income was at least $257,827. Weaver’s total personal tax loss was at least $27,488. Stoll-Weaver’s personal tax loss was $34,264.

Sturgis willfully failed to make an income tax return or pay personal income taxes from 2007 to 2012, for a total personal tax loss of $148,347, including relevant conduct.

Additionally, from 2009 to 2012, Stoll-Weaver, Weaver and Sturgis each claimed personal federal income tax refunds, knowing that Homeward Bound and Silver Linings had not paid any income taxes to the IRS.

Weaver and Sturgis were each sentenced to five years of probation; Stoll-Weaver awaits sentencing.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kathleen D. Mahoney. It was investigated by IRS – Criminal Investigation.