Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

February 6, 2014

McDowell County woman sentenced for interfering with an IRS investigation

WELCH — A McDowell County woman has been sentenced to one year and one day in federal prison for attempting to interfere with the administration of internal revenue laws, U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin announced today.

Goodwin said the defendant, Bonita Witt-Hird, 59, of Thorpe, was also sentenced to one year of supervised release and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $422,180.69, which includes $186,819.24 in tax loss and $235,361.46 in interest and penalties.    

Witt-Hird was employed by Richmorr and Associates, an Elkview sewage treatment company.  Between 2003 and 2009, Goodwin said Witt-Hird failed to file required employment tax returns and make tax deposits for taxes that had been collected from the wages of employees.

When she was contacted by agents with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Witt-Hird provided false and altered records, checks, and receipts, according to Goodwin.

Goodwin said those documents were provided to establish that she had satisfied her tax obligations when, in fact, she had not.

A subsequent audit revealed that the required taxes had not been paid. Goodwin said the original records were also recovered and compared to the altered records provided by Witt-Hird. 

Goodwin said Witt Hird admitted to providing false records to IRS agents in an effort to obstruct their investigation.  She admitted that she had failed to pay the IRS the employment taxes, and instead diverted money to pay other bills owed by Richmorr and Associates.

The IRS conducted the investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Erik S. Goes handled the prosecution, assisted by Jed Silversmith at the United States Department of Justice, Tax Division, Southern Criminal Enforcement Section.  The sentence was imposed by United States District Judge John T. Copenhaver, Jr.

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