IRS agent convicted in Carrs embezzlement case

Posted: Thursday, May 25, 2000

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- An Internal Revenue Service agent from Eagle River was convicted in federal court this week on dozens of counts stemming from an embezzling scheme that netted more than $400,000.

Joseph E. Wilson Jr., 50, was found guilty Wednesday of 47 counts of wire fraud, money laundering and filing false tax returns, the U.S. Attorney's office said Thursday.

A sentencing date has not been set.

Wilson was accused of being involved in the embezzling scheme with his now ex-wife, Sara Wilson, of Olympia, Wash.

Sara Wilson admitted stealing money orders, cash and Western Union wire transfers from the Carrs grocery in Eagle River, where she worked as a night manager.

She pleaded guilty last June to eight federal counts of forging money orders, mail fraud, wire fraud and filing false tax returns.

Federal prosecutors accused Joseph Wilson of knowing about the stolen money and even helping his ex-wife spend it by making a number of trips to Reno, Nev., to play high-limit slot machines. He denied having any knowledge of the thefts.

According to the indictment, the couple set up a joint casino account at a Reno hotel that included an open line of credit. About $34,000 was wired to the hotel in 1996 and 1997, the indictment said, with Joseph Wilson directly receiving $15,000.

Stolen money was also spent on home remodeling and refurnishing projects and various luxury purchases, prosecutors said.

Joseph Wilson, an IRS collections agent, was convicted of filing false tax returns between 1994 and 1996.

The Wilsons had been accused of misreporting their income from her embezzlements between 1992 and 1996.

The money laundering charges were filed because in some cases he converted wired cash into checks that he cashed, according to prosecutors.

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