Recently, Ross A. Rinkes, 66, of Decherd, Tennessee, pleaded guilty to making and subscribing a false U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, Form 1040, in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Sentencing has been set for March 7, 2024.
Rinkes faces a term of up to three years in federal prison, a fine of up to $100,000, and supervised release for up to one year. As required by his plea agreement with the government, he has paid restitution to the IRS in the amount of $1,485,120.38, which includes unpaid taxes plus penalties and interest required by law.
As part of the plea agreement filed with the court, Rinkes waived an indictment by a Federal Grand Jury and agreed to plead guilty to the aforementioned charge. Rinkes, the owner of Rinkes Angus Ranch, a farm near Decherd, Tennessee, was in the business of purchasing and reselling chicken litter, which is used as fertilizer and selling crops to grain aggregators. For 2015, 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020, he provided his tax return preparer with false information that led to material underreporting of his income for each year. Rinkes signed those tax returns under penalty of perjury. On his tax return for 2017, Rinkes willfully and falsely underreported his income by at least $523,796, which resulted in him underreporting his income tax due for that year by at least $181,659. His false individual income tax returns for 2015, 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020 resulted in a total tax loss of $679,515 to the United States.
United States Attorney Francis M. Hamilton III of the Eastern District of Tennessee and Special Agent in Charge Donald “Trey” Eakins of the IRS Criminal Investigation Division made the announcement.
The investigation was led by IRS Criminal Investigation Division Special Agent Michael T. Whitesell.
Assistant United States Attorney Joseph G. DeGaetano represents the United States.