UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT MIDDLE DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA
September 5, 1951
The opinion of the court was delivered by: MURPHY
Defendant, found guilty by verdict of a jury of three violations of § 145(b), Internal Revenue Code, 26 U.S.C.A. § 145(b),
moves for a judgment of acquittal and in the alternative for a new trial.
Defendant was charged with having wilfully and knowingly attempted to defeat and evade a large part of his income taxes
due and owing to the United States of America for 1943, 1944 and 1945 by filing and causing to be filed
a false and fraudulent income tax return for each year wherein he knowingly understated his net income and the amount of tax due thereon.
Defense counsel moved for judgment of acquittal at the end of the government's case in chief and again at the conclusion of all the evidence. Although opportunity was afforded no argument was made in support of either motion. Being obviously without merit, both motions were denied. In the consideration of the present motion
we have carefully reviewed the entire record of testimony including the exhibits, viewing the evidence and all inferences reasonably deducible therefrom in the light most favorable to the government to ascertain whether or not there was substantial competent evidence to support the verdict.
We are of course not here concerned with the weight of the evidence, the credibility of witnesses or conflicts in the testimony, all questions for the jury.
It is unnecessary to recount the evidence at length. Suffice it to say that the jury could have found and, in support of their verdict we may properly assume, did find the following:
Defendant, as sole owner and proprietor, operated a retail household furnishing store at Scranton, Pennsylvania, under the name of Robert E. Stoehr, trading as Stoehr and Fister. Edith Passetti as bookkeeper was in charge of the books or original entry. August W. Tross, defendant's office manager, did all the posting, was in charge of the general ledger cards, and prepared defendant's financial statement. Donald C. Griffiths, a certified public accountant, prepared defendant's income tax returns. He never made an audit of or examined defendant's books of account but relied solely on information prepared by Tross and submitted by defendant or at his direction.
All of defendant's pertinent books, records and income tax returns for 1943, 1944 and 1945 are in evidence. Special Agent Earley and Internal Revenue Agent Watkins made an examination of the books of account and returns in question. They testified- and in this they were corroborated by the documentary evidence- that in each of the three years there were false entries in defendant's ledger cards, unsubstantiated by any entries in defendant's books of original entry, whereby sales were understated, purchases and expenses overstated; that defendant's returns grossly understated his net income and the tax due thereon. The agents computed and Watkins testified as to the exact amount of tax due and unreported in defendant's returns. Their testimony may be summarized as follows:
Sales Purchases Expenses
Omitted Overstated Overstated Total
1943 $ 48,283.39 $ 118,784.06 $ 4,059.00 $ 171,126.45
1944 51,716.61 35,196.75 8,497.04 95,410.40
1945 71,187.40 32,847.57 104,034.97
$ 171,187.40 $ 186,828.38 $ 12,556.04 $ 370,571.82
[ TABLE CONTINUED ]
Actual Reported Net income
Net Income Net Income Understated
1943 $ 237,620.40 $ 66,493.95 $ 171,126.45
1944 174,039.03 78,628.63 95,410.40
1945 164,739.84 60,704.87 104,034.97
$ 576,399.27 $ 205,827.45 $ 370,571.82
Actual Reported Actual Tax Due
Tax Due Tax Due Understated
1943 $ 193,547.77 $ 39,261.70 $ 154,286.07
1944 137,311.05 50,238.05 87,073.25
1945 128,651.46 35,517.80 93,133.66
$ 459,510.28 $ 125,017.55 $ 334,492.98
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