Carroll County business owner sentenced on federal charges

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ABINGDON, Va. (WDBJ7) -- A Carroll County business owner, who paid some of his employees in cash to avoid paying taxes to the Internal Revenue Service and later lied in a bankruptcy proceeding, was sentenced on Monday in federal court in Abingdon, according to U.S. Attorney Rick A. Mountcastle.

According to a release from the U.S. Attorney's Office of the Western District of Virginia, Jones Keith Andrews, 62, of Galax, Va., was sentenced to 24 months in prison and ordered to pay the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) restitution in the amount of $609,604.

Andrews previously pleaded guilty without the benefit of a plea agreement to one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States by impeding, impairing, obstructing, and defeating the lawful function of the IRS, 17 counts of failure to pay or collect taxes, and one count of bankruptcy fraud, the release states.

According to the release, Andrews and others executed a scheme in which a portion of the wages paid to the employees of his farm -- Andrews Farming -- was paid via paycheck and the remained was paid in cash between 2009 and March 2015.

For each quarter from 2009 through 2014, Andrews and his co-conspirators caused IRS Forms 941 to be sent to the U.S. Government that falsely under-reported the wages paid to employees of Andrews Farming. The Forms 941 only listed the wages paid to employees via paycheck and did not include the amounts paid via cash, the release states.

In addition, for each year from 2009 through 2014, Andrews and others caused Forms W2 to be sent to the U.S. Government that falsely under-reported the wages paid to employees of Andrews Farming. The Forms W2 listed only wages paid via paycheck and not the wages paid in cash, according to the release.

According to the release, over $1 million in cash was obtained by cashing personal and company checks.

In addition, Andrews knowingly made a false statement, under oath during a bankruptcy hearing in May 2016 in which he claimed that his company had lost $1.3 million due to the embezzlement of one of his employees, Robert Donald Morgan III, according to the release.

Morgan previously pleaded guilty for his role in this criminal activity and was sentenced to six months in prison on March 29, 2016, according to the release.