Granby accountant sentenced to federal prison for tax fraud

Staff Writer
Published: 10/17/2016 4:29:55 PM

A Granby accountant has been sentenced to four months in federal prison for filing false corporate and personal income tax returns over three years.

James Lowe, 53, was sentenced Monday in U.S. District Court in Worcester by Judge Timothy S. Hillman.

Lowe pleaded guilty in June to three counts of filing false corporate tax returns for his accounting business and three counts of filing false personal income tax returns from 2011 to 2013, according to the U.S. attorney’s office in Massachusetts. The false returns resulted in a tax loss of more than $118,000, according to prosecutors.

In addition to the prison term, Lowe was sentenced to a year of supervised release, which includes three months of home detention, according to court documents. He must also pay a $600 special assessment.

Lowe, the owner of an accounting and tax return preparation business in Chicopee, underreported his corporate and personal income on his tax returns by not disclosing certain checks generated from his accounting business, according the U.S. attorney’s office.

“Lowe cashed some of these checks and he deposited some of them into his personal account, rather than the business bank account,” prosecutors stated in June when Lowe pleaded guilty to the charges.

Following Monday’s sentencing, Lowe’s attorney, John P. Pucci of Springfield, said the impact of the sentence on his client professionally and personally would be significant.

“We disagreed with the sentence because prior to today, we paid all the taxes, the fraud penalty and all the interest that he had,” Pucci said.

The sentence was one-third of what the government requested, according to Pucci.

Pucci had argued for a sentence of probation. In a sentencing memorandum submitted to the court in September, he wrote that Lowe’s offense was non-violent and did not cause harm to any of his clients. He described Lowe’s actions as a “product of fear and insecurity not greed.”

“Rather, the harm in this case was underpayment by (Mr. Lowe) of his own taxes, a harm that has now been addressed directly by Mr. Lowe, who has made full payment of the taxes due, plus interest and over $82,000 in fraud penalties to the U.S. Treasury,” Pucci wrote.

In the memo, Pucci paints a picture of Lowe as a man who “pulled himself up by his bootstraps” to overcome a difficult childhood. Pucci continued that Lowe’s “scars of poverty in which he was ‘raised’ were ingrained in him … and remain to this day.”

Lowe, who is married with two grown children, has no previous criminal history. He loses his professional accounting license upon sentencing and must report to prison on or before Dec. 5.

Emily Cutts can be reached at ecutts@gazettenet.com.




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