COLORADO SPRINGS – A U.S. District Court Judge sentenced a Colorado Springs man to serve 24 months in federal prison followed by three years supervised release for conspiracy and filing false income tax returns.
According to information found in the indictment and evidence presented at trial, 45-year-old Thomas Forster Gehrmann, Jr. conspired to defraud the U.S. by filing false income tax returns between 2007-2010.
“Tax fraud is not a victimless crime,” Steven Osborne, IRS Criminal Investigation Special Agent in charge, said. “This is an important victory for America’s taxpayers who play by the rules and have no tolerance for those who shirk their tax responsibilities.”
Atlas Chiropractic Center at Briargate, Inc. and SpineMed Decompression Centers of Colorado, LLC (collectively, the “Atlas Entities”) are located in Colorado Springs.
During the times mentioned in the indictment, the Atlas Entities shared employees, business bank accounts, an outside bookkeeper, a certified public accountant (CPA) and other resources jointly managed by Gehrmann.
Gehrmann handled day-to-day operations for Atlas Entities including seeing patients and completing paperwork.
Payments were made by check, cash, credit card or a third-party payer like an insurance company.
According to authorities, a sign was placed on the Atlas Entities reception desk directing patients to make their checks payable to the individual chiropractor instead of one of the Atlas Entities.
Checks made payable to Atlas or SpineMed were regularly deposited in the business bank accounts together with patient’s payments via credit card.
The actual cash and checks made out to Gehrmann directly were put in something known as the “cookie jar,” which was typically kept in Gehrmann’s office. Cash payments were kept separate and divided between Gehrmann and two other chiropractors according to reports.
Once a week they divided up the contents of the “cookie jar” between themselves and for certain periods, Gehrmann recorded the amount each person received as his share for that week in a book titled “Secret Records.”
Statements regarding the deposits into the Atlas Entities’ bank accounts were sent to the outside bookkeeper who understood those were the total business income for the Atlas Entities. Those records were turned over to the CPA for him to file income taxes for the Atlas Entities and Gehrmann’s individual returns.
Gehrmann failed to disclose to his CPA the income that was diverted from cash and checks.
“On this tax day, it is important to remind would-be tax-cheats that we will aggressively investigate and prosecute tax fraud cases and that those found guilty can face significant jail time,” said U.S. Attorney Jason Dunn.
A hearing to determine what, if any, restitution Gehrmann will have to pay back is scheduled for May 23.