Charles Sigerseth, 66, of Sacramento, Calif., was sentenced to 63 months in federal prison on charges of conspiracy to defraud the United States in the assessment and collection of taxes and two counts of tax evasion related to his 1995 and 1996 federal income tax returns.

According to trial evidence, Sigerseth attended a seminar put on by a company called “National Trust Services” (NTS), which told Sigerseth that by putting his business into a “business trust” and directing all business profits to a “family trust,” he could write off all personal expenses as business deductions on the family trust returns.

Further, he was told, any remaining taxable income could be “set-aside” into a “family foundation” that would purportedly later be donated to charity and that, as a result, the “set-aside” amount constituted a charitable deduction. Sigerseth implemented this scheme and used it for his 1993 to 1997 tax returns, usually paying just 10 percent of what he actually owed in federal taxes.

At sentencing, United States District Judge William B. Shubb told Sigerseth: “When you don’t pay your taxes you cheat all of us. We all end up paying for your taxes. We need to send out the message that it can’t go unpunished.”

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