Metropolitan News-Enterprise

 

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

 

Page 3

 

Former McGuire Woods Partner Sentenced on Tax Charge

 

By a MetNews Staff Writer

 

An attorney who was a partner in the Century City offices of a national law firm was placed on probation for two years yesterday for interfering with efforts by the Internal Revenue Service to collect well over $100,000 in federal income taxes the lawyer had not paid.

U.S. District Judge George H. Wu sentenced Michelle Renee Walker, 42, to the probationary term, which includes six months of home detention and 20 hours per month of community service until she finds employment, Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen A. Cazares told the MetNews.

Cazares declined to comment on the appropriateness of the sentence, although the government had recommended that Walker serve five months in custody, in addition to a term of house arrest. The statutory maximum would have been three years in prison.

 Walker pled guilty in March to interfering with the administration of the IRS, specifically admitting that she provided her law firm, McGuire Woods in Century City, with a falsified IRS document. The bogus document purported to lift a levy the IRS had placed on partnership payments from the law firm to Walker.

Walker resigned from the law firm, which cooperated with the investigation by the Department of the Treasury.  By pleading guilty, the prosecutor previously explained, Walker admitted that she owed federal income taxes for the tax years 2006 through 2008, and that the unpaid taxes totaled more than $110,000 by February 2010.

After the IRS served the law firm with a levy to collect any partnership payments to the attorney, Walker provided the firmís general counsel with a phony IRS form that purported to release the tax levy. The form appeared to have been signed by an IRS employee.

Walkerís lawyer, Deputy Federal Public Defender Chase Scolnick, did not return a phone call seeking comment.

State Bar records show Walker, a graduate of the University of Illinois and Pepperdine University School of Law, was admitted to the State Bar in 1993. She has no prior record of discipline, but was placed on interim suspension this past Friday as a result of the conviction.

Conviction of a felony involving moral turpitude is punishable by summary disbarment under the Rules of Professional Conduct.

 

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