Well-known photographer and gallery owner Kevin Fleming, 67, of Milton, was sentenced in federal court Tuesday to one year in prison for federal tax evasion.
U.S. District Court Judge Richard G. Andrews issued the sentence, which could have been as long as five years.
Fleming pleaded guilty on August 26, 2020.
At the time of his plea, Fleming had not filed federal income tax returns or paid any income taxes since 1981, prosecutors stated.
Fleming’s sentence includes $192,529 restitution to the IRS for income taxes due from 2002 through 2016. In addition, Fleming was also ordered to make restitution to the IRS for $22,584 in payroll taxes, which he withheld from his employees’ wages in 2016 and 2017 but was never turned over to the IRS.
The Indictment covered the years 2012–2016. The prosecutor noted that Fleming had the money to pay his income taxes during those years, as his total net income was $393,00.
Prosecutors said Fleming lived well, spending a total of $75,000 in restaurants/bars and $2,350 monthly to rent an $800,000 house in Lewes, one block from the beach.
The prosecutor also stated that the criminal investigation was initiated only after Fleming ignored the IRS’s numerous letters and civil assessments.
U.S. Attorney David Weiss stated, “The financial loss in tax cases is shared by every member of the tax-paying public. Our nation’s ability to operate and serve its citizenry depends on voluntary compliance with tax obligations. The defendant not only willfully evaded his personal income tax obligations, but he failed to pay over taxes withheld from his employees’ paychecks, demonstrating a complete disregard for their individual tax liabilities.”
“Today’s sentencing is the culmination of Mr. Fleming disregarding his tax responsibility for nearly two decades,” said Yury Kruty, acting special agent in charge of IRS-Criminal Investigation. “Taxpayers want to know that everyone is doing their part and paying their fair share of taxes. IRS-CI will continue to vigorously investigate those individuals who knowingly and willfully evade their tax obligation.”
Fleming started his professional career at the News Journal, but was best known for his work with National Geographic that led to assignments throughout the world.
He went on to open galleries in Coastal Sussex County and publish coffee table books of his work.