LINCOLN — A federal jury has convicted a Kearney businessman of filing false tax returns.
Thomas W. Hird, 67, was convicted Wednesday in U.S. Federal District Court in Lincoln on three counts of filing a false tax return. Hird has owned and operated Nails Unlimited in Kearney since 2009.
“We are currently in tax season. The jury’s verdict underscores the importance of taxpayers to truthfully report income on their tax returns,” said acting U.S. Attorney Jan Sharp.
According to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Hird would skim the cash and check payments of the business by cashing a majority of all customer checks received. He also would do currency exchanges where he would exchange small bills for $100 bills.
Credit and debit card transactions at the business automatically would be deposited into the business bank account, however, cash and check payments were rarely deposited into the business account, according to the release. Hird then wouldn’t report the cashed customer checks and currency as part of his gross income on his yearly tax return.
The nail salon customers who testified at trial indicated they were told to issue checks payable to Hird personally and not the business. The salon also had signs displayed that told customers to make checks payable to Hird.
Hird testified at trial that he knew the bank had a policy against cashing checks made payable to his business, the release said.
The Internal Revenue Service began investigating Hird’s actions in 2017.
In July 2017, an IRS special agent interviewed Hird about his business and about his practice of cashing customer checks and exchanging customer cash payments. Hird repeatedly denied he engaged in the transactions, according to the release, and claimed that all customer payments were deposited into the business bank account.
At trial, Hird admitted he had lied to the IRS agent.
From 2012 to 2016, Hird failed to report income from Nails Unlimited in the amount of $520,107. As a result, Hird’s total tax due and owing for the years 2012-2016 is $134,989, based on the release.
Hird faces up to nine years in federal prison where there is no parole. Sentencing is scheduled for July.