Chauvin, who killed George Floyd, pleads guilty in tax case | Crime and Courts

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Former Minneapolis cop sentenced in the murder of George Floyd in 2020 pleaded guilty Friday to two counts of tax evasion, admitting he had not filed Minnesota income tax for two years due to “financial concerns.”

Derek Chauvin pleaded guilty specifically to two counts of aiding and abetting, failing to file Minnesota state income tax returns for the 2016 and 2017 tax years.

Chauvin appeared in Minnesota court via Zoom from a federal prison in Tucson, Arizona, where he is serving time on a state murder conviction for killing Floyd and on a federal count of violating Floyd’s civil rights.

He stood in a room and paced before the start of Friday’s hearing. When Washington County Judge Sheridan Hawley asked why he hadn’t filed his Minnesota tax returns, he told the judge, “The real reason was financial issues at the time.”

He also said, “I had to find significant funds from my family to pay for a previous year’s performance and, frankly, I’ve been catching up ever since.”

He was sentenced to 13 months in prison for the tax charges, but he has already been incarcerated longer than that and has been credited for the time served.

Floyd died on May 25, 2020, after Chauvin, who is white, pressed his knee against the black man’s neck for more than nine minutes. Floyd, who was handcuffed, repeatedly said he couldn’t breathe. The killing, which was videotaped by a bystander, has sparked protests around the world as part of a broader address about racial injustice.

Shortly after Floyd’s murder, Chauvin and his then-wife were charged with multiple counts of allegedly underreporting their income to the state of Minnesota and failing to file Minnesota tax returns. The complaints alleged that from 2014 to 2019, the Chauvins underreported their joint income by $464,433.

Along with unpaid taxes, interest and fees, the Chauvins, who have since divorced, owe the state $37,868, according to court documents.

The tax investigation began in June 2020, after the Minnesota Department of Revenue received information about suspicious returns from Derek Chauvin. The agency began a cursory internal review, then opened a formal investigation.

The investigation ultimately revealed that the Chauvins did not file state tax returns for 2016, 2017, or 2018 and did not report all of their income for 2014 and 2015. When the 2016 tax returns to 2019 were filed in June 2020, the Chauvins did not report all of their income in those years either, according to the complaints.

The complaints said Chauvin was required to pay taxes on income from off-duty security work he performed at multiple jobs between 2014 and 2020. Investigators believe that at one job he earned approximately $95,920 in during these six years that have not been reported.

His ex-wife, Kellie May Chauvin, pleaded guilty on February 24 to two counts of aiding and abetting their failure to file tax returns for 2016 and 2017. Her plea deal included three years of probation and restitution with no more than 45 days of public service. The other charges were dropped. Hawley said she would be sentenced on May 12.

Kellie Chauvin filed for divorce shortly after Floyd’s death, and a judge approved the divorce last February on terms that remained sealed. The judge rejected an early settlement proposal that would have given Kellie Chauvin most of their property and money, fueling speculation that the Chauvins were trying to protect their assets.

Documents in the tax case said the couple owned a second home in Florida and alleged they also failed to pay the proper sales tax on a $100,000 BMW purchased in Minnesota in 2018.

Chauvin was convicted of state murder and manslaughter in 2021 and serving 22 and a half years in this case. He also pleaded guilty to a federal charge of violating Floyd’s civil rights and was sentenced to 21 years. He is serving his sentences simultaneously.

Three other officers were convicted on federal charges of violating Floyd’s rights. Two of them were also found guilty on one count of aiding and abetting manslaughter, while the third is waiting for a judge to decide his fate on the charges brought by the state.

Trisha Ahmed is a member of the Associated Press/ Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places reporters in local newsrooms to report on undercover issues. Follow her on Twitter: @TrishaAhmed15

Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.


Chauvin, who killed George Floyd, pleads guilty in tax case | Crime and Courts

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