Nebraska man sentenced for tax evasion, payroll tax fraud

Jan. 20 roundup from federal court in Omaha
Published: Jan. 20, 2023 at 7:14 PM CST
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Below is a roundup of sentences handed down last week in federal court in Omaha, according to updates this week from acting U.S. Attorney Steven Russell.

The acting U.S. Attorney’s office in Omaha reminds the public that there is no parole in the federal system.

Christopher D. Weaver, 49, of Hallam, Neb., located south of Lincoln, was sentenced Thursday in Lincoln for willfully failing to pay taxes. He was sentenced by U.S. District Judge John M. Gerrard to six months of community confinement, two years of supervised release, and a fine of $10,000 plus a $100 fee. IRS criminal investigators found that Weaver had failed to file a 941 form and pay trust fund taxes for his two businesses, Structural Enterprises Inc. and SEi Millwright Service Inc., for about 10 years. He also deducted and collected payroll taxes from his Structural Enterprises employees’ wages — a total of $92,986.91 — but didn’t pay them to the IRS as required in the third quarter of 2016. He has since paid all payroll taxes due and has filed the required tax forms, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office release.

James Finley, 38, of Omaha, was sentenced Jan. 13 by Judge Robert F. Rossiter, Jr. to 18 years and 4 months in prison for conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine. In September 2020, Omaha Police was investigating Carla Colliers for distributing meth. In November 2020, police searched Collers’ home and allegedly found roughly 900 grams of meth. During the search, Finley allegedly arrived at the home with a backpack containing 642 grams of meth.

Gary Ross, 24, of Omaha, was sentenced Jan. 13 by Judge Robert F. Rossiter, Jr. to 5 years and 1 month in prison for possession with intent to distribute marijuana and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. On Aug. 28, 2020, officers searched Ross’ apartment in Omaha and allegedly found roughly three pounds of marijuana, a handgun, a scale, and roughly $15,000.

Aaron Lee Kuntz, 44, of Lincoln, was sentenced Friday by Judge John M. Gerrard to 15 years in prison for possession with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of pure meth after having a prior conviction for a serious drug felony. In June 2021, Lincoln investigators watched Kuntz’s home in Lincoln. They saw a car leave the residence and followed it, later stopping it for a traffic violation. The car was searched, although the Department of Justice did not specify further on how the police had probable cause to search the car. During the search, police allegedly found more than an ounce of meth on one of the passengers, who allegedly told investigators they got it from Kuntz. A search was conducted at Kuntz’s home with a warrant and police allegedly found roughly 18 ounces of meth, plastic bags, and scales. Kuntz’s prior conviction came in 2006 when he was sentenced to more than 11 years in prison for selling meth.

Richard Knott, Jr., 35, of Minatare, Nebraska, was sentenced Friday in Lincoln to 12 years and 6 months in prison for possession of child pornography. The investigation began with a foreign-based cloud storage website where users posted two links leading to folders of child porn. Investigators looked at the IP addresses of people accessing the folders, and one allegedly lead back to Knott. In June 2021 a search warrant was executed at Knott’s home and investigators allegedly found roughly 33,000 images and 7,000 videos of child porn on his devices. Knott was also previously convicted for possessing child porn in 2012.

Christopher Hatcher, 45, of Omaha, was sentenced Friday by Judge Robert F. Rossiter, Jr. to four years in prison for distribution of meth. In April 2020 Hatcher allegedly sold meth to a cooperating witness working with police.

Domingo Zacarias Ciprian, 42, formerly of Grand Island, Nebraska, was sentenced Friday by Judge Robert F. Rossiter, Jr. to one year and three months in prison for unlawful transfer of a document or authentication feature. Ciprian is a citizen of Guatemala and will be deported after serving his sentence. Through previous investigations, investigators say they found that Ciprian was selling counterfeit documents. In September 2021, investigators set up an undercover purchase, including a Social Security Card and a Nebraska driver’s license. After the purchase, they searched Ciprian’s residence in Grand Island and allegedly found 92 counterfeit documents.