Kenai man sentenced to more than 3 years for tax evasion

A 50-year-old Kenai man was sentenced Thursday in federal court in Anchorage for tax evasion.

Michael A. Spisak failed to pay over employees’ taxes to the Internal Revenue Service for two companies, according to evidence introduced during a federal trial. This failure led to expensive tax penalties, which Spisak did not pay.

Spisak was sentenced to 44 months in prison, the Alaska U.S. District Attorney announced in a press release. A jury found him guilty of tax evasion on Oct. 29, 2012. He was taken into custody on that date and has been incarcerated since.

Spisak was a commercial pilot who worked as an assistant hunting and fishing guide and transporter in Alaska since the 1980s.

The jury found Spisak responsible for not paying over income taxes, social security taxes and Medicare taxes withheld from the employees of two aviation companies.

He operated the companies under Ram Aviation, which he establish sometime in the ‘80s according to a federal indictment, as well as Hunt and Fish Alaska.

He failed to pay over taxes totaling $140,134.32 in 2000. And in 2001, the IRS began issuing penalties against one of the companies. For four years, Spisak continued to avoid paying over taxes, and he purchased and transferred ownership of multiple aircraft, according to the indictment.

As a result, the IRS handed down more than $200,000 in tax penalties in 2005, according to the press release.

To evade the payment of the tax penalties, the evidence presented at trial showed that Spisak committed numerous illegal acts: he created nominee companies to hold aircraft which he either used in his businesses or controlled; he created an overseas bank account in Belize; he placed assets in the names of others; he paid creditors but not the federal government; he transferred funds through the bank accounts of his children; and he provided false or incomplete information to the IRS and to his tax preparer.

The IRS’s Criminal Investigation Division led the probe of Spisak’s tax evasion.

Upon sentencing, Chief United States Judge Ralph R. Beistline said Spisak is a “fundamentally dishonest” person. “Everyone wants to pay as little as legally possible to the IRS,” but his action showed he was a “tax cheat” and had “no respect for the law,” Beistline said.

 

Jerzy Shedlock can be reached at jerzy.shedlock@peninsulaclarion.com.

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