Former Deputy Constable Charged with Tax Evasion
|U.S. Attorney’s Office February 14, 2014|
HOUSTON—Vernon Matthews has been charged with using dependent information of people he contacted during his time as a deputy constable to file false tax returns, announced United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson. Matthews is a 21-year veteran of law enforcement and was a former Precinct 6 deputy constable.
Matthews was charged in a five-count indictment returned Tuesday, February 11, 2014. He surrendered to authorities this morning and is set to make an initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge George C. Hanks at 2:00 p.m. today.
The indictment alleges Matthews obtained names and identifying information of the children of parents he contacted during his service as a deputy constable. Matthews then allegedly claimed the children as dependent nephews and nieces on his 2007, 2008, 2010, and 2011 tax returns. He also claimed “child care” and educational expenses for his non-existent relatives and made false statements to the FBI when questioned about the claims in a March 2013 interview, according to allegations.
If convicted, Matthews faces up to five years in federal prison on the false statement charge and each of the four counts of tax evasion. Making a false statement also carries a possible $250,000 fine, while the tax evasion charges could result in a $100,000 fine on each conviction.
Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, FBI, and the Texas Rangers investigated. Assistant United States Attorney James McAlister is prosecuting.
An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence. A defendant is presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law.