Alexander Brown, a former employee of Georgia Public Broadcasting ("GPB"), entered a plea today before Judge John Ott in Newton County Superior Court to three counts of felony theft by taking. According to Attorney General Thurbert Baker, whose office prosecuted Brown, Brown contacted GPB's human resources department in 2007 concerning how to stop income taxes from being deducted from his paycheck. GPB in turn contacted the Georgia Department of Revenue, which initiated an investigation into Brown's tax filings. Revenue found that for tax years 2004 through 2006, despite having been employed by the Board of Pardons and Paroles and a private company at times during those tax years, Brown filed amended tax returns claiming that he earned no income. In 2007, Brown filed an original return, claiming only interest income, despite his employment with GPB.
As a result of the fraudulent filings, Brown obtained a total of $6197.64 in tax refunds for the tax years 2004-2006. Brown also filed fraudulent returns for tax years 2002, 2003, and 2007, but the refunds were blocked. Brown claimed that he was relying on advice he received from books, seminars, and the internet indicating that he did not fit the federal definition of an employee required to pay income tax. Decades of tax law and rulings from state and federal court refuted Brown's position, clearly showing that he committed fraud in filing the returns and theft in claiming the tax refunds at issue.
Brown, who had no prior criminal record, received a 3 year probated sentence. He was also ordered to complete 80 hours community service, pay restitution to the Georgia Department of Revenue in the amount of $6197.64 within 30 days, and pay a $6000 fine. As a special condition of probation the defendant must file correct income tax returns for tax years 2004-2008. As a further special condition, the defendant must provide a copy of his state tax return to the Office of Special Investigations at the Georgia Department of Revenue by October 31, 2010, and each year thereafter while on probation. The case was investigated by Carter Leverette of the Georgia Department of Revenue, and prosecution of the case was handled by Senior Assistant Attorney General Kim Schwartz.