Southeast Fishing Couple Sentenced for 20 Years of Tax Avoidance

The Klawock husband and wife who the U.S. Justice Department said prioritized traveling and gambling instead of paying their income for over 20 years were sentenced in federal court on Friday.

“Archie W. Demmert III, 58, and Roseann L. Demmert, 61, both of Klawock, Alaska, were sentenced today by Chief U.S. District Judge Timothy M. Burgess to each serve 12 months, plus one day, in federal prison on two counts of willful failure to pay income tax. As part of their plea agreements, the Demmerts will pay restitution to the IRS for the calendar years charged covering 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014,” U.S. Attorney Bryan Schroder revealed in a press release on Friday.

In court, the Demmert couple, who both own commercial fishing permits, admitted in court in May 2018, that they chose not to pay income taxes amounting to over $300,000 for the years from 2006 until 2014. In court, prosecutors stated that the avoidance of taxes extended back to at least 1994.

Prosecutors say that in 2012 the Demmerts cashed out over $20,000 from the Cache Creek Casino then two days later told the IRS that they didn’t have the funds to make a tax payment. Later that year, the couple took vacations to the California wine country and spent thousands of dollars.

The next year, the Demmerts came to an agreement with the IRS to make an $80,000 payment but then A. Demmert withdrew $84,000 from the bank then informed the IRS that they didn’t have the funds to make their payment. A short time later the two went back to the casinos in Washington and Nevada.

The following year, 2014, the IRS demanded full payment of their tax debt. Instead of paying, the Demmerts “spent approximately $56,000 on travel, entertainment, casinos and paying their credit cards bills,” it was revealed in court.

After years of dodging their tax debt, in May 2018, at their change of plea hearing, the court banned the two from going to casinos.