Southern District of Georgia |  Georgia bar and restaurant owner sentenced to federal prison and ordered to pay compensation for tax evasion

STATESBORO, GA: The co-owner of several Georgia bars and a restaurant has been sentenced to federal prison for tax evasion.

Eugene R. Britt III, aka Trey Britt, 53, of Milledgeville, Georgia, was sentenced to 24 months in prison after previously pleading guilty to tax evasion, Deputy Assistant Attorney General David A. Hubbert of the Department of Tax Affairs jointly announced with the Justice Department Division and US Attorney Jill E. Steinberg of the Southern District of Georgia. The presiding judge of the United States District Court, J. Randall Hall, also ordered Britt to pay $362,249.53 in damages and a $10,000 fine and to three years of supervised release after serving his sentence.

There is no probation in the federal system.

“Trey Britt initiated a plan to illegally withhold profits that should have been remitted to the US Treasury Department,” US Attorney Steinberg said. “Tax avoidance places a greater burden on all law-abiding taxpayers and Britt will be held accountable for his actions.”

As described in court documents and testimony, Britt participated in a scheme to evade taxes he owed the IRS on income from several bars and a restaurant he and others owned near campuses in Georgia. As part of the plan, Britt and others disguised their ownership of the bars by ensuring each establishment was owned on paper by a single person. Britt and the other true owners then shared in the profits by siphoning off cash and paying it out to each other.

Britt personally controlled the distribution of cash for three of the establishments. As part of his admission of guilt, Britt admitted that he had skimmed cash from his bars and restaurants for about two decades and failed to disclose it on his tax returns.

In addition, Britt admitted to being involved in a similar cash levy in connection with the sale of beer at a music festival in 2015. Britt made sure his individual tax return was wrong because he didn’t tell his accountant about the money he received from the bars and the music festival that year.

“Business owners have a responsibility to accurately report their income, and it is unlawful not to do so,” said Lisa Fontanette, Acting Special Agent in Charge for the IRS Criminal Investigation Department’s Atlanta Field Office. “Special agents from the IRS Criminal Investigation will pursue those who flout this responsibility to rob taxpayers and the federal government.”

“Hardworking taxpayers shouldn’t have to shoulder the burden of people like Trey Britt who don’t pay their taxes out of greed,” said Keri Farley, acting special agent for the FBI Atlanta. “The FBI will work with our partners to ensure there are severe consequences for those who intentionally evade their tax obligations.”

IRS-Criminal Investigation and the FBI investigated the case, which was being prosecuted for the United States by Assistant Chief David Zisserson and trial attorney Casey Smith of the US Department of Justice’s Tax Division and the US Assistant Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Georgia.