The owner of Stepping Stone Farm in Connecticut pleaded guilty this week to federal tax charges. Juliana Cole Weber waived her right to indictment and entered the plea before a US District Judge to one count of tax evasion and one count of failure to collect and pay tax.
According to the plea agreement, Weber filed personal tax returns with the IRS from 2001 through 2006 that under-reported her taxable federal income by a total of more than $1.1 million. Due to the unreported income, she failed to pay more than $389,000 in personal income taxes.
In 2005 and 2006 Weber also didn’t collect and pay the IRS income taxes and Social Security for her farm’s employees. She shorted the agency more than $190,000.
This case has been investigated for several years. In 2007, $1 million was seized from a safe deposit box, which according to the plea agreement, was in “the custody of Juliana Starbuck,” who is one of Weber’s daughters.
Weber has agreed to forfeit those funds to the Federal Government under a stipulated civil forfeiture agreement. Her civil tax liability has been credited $333,755 which was also seized from the safe deposit box, and just over $30,000 that was seized from two safes at Stepping Stone Farm.
Weber is scheduled to be sentenced in Federal Court in December. She is facing a maximum prison sentence of ten years and a fine up to $110,000 according to the US Attorney’s Office. She is also required to pay all of the taxes owed, as well as the penalties and interest.
David Grudberg, her attorney, said, “Janie Weber made unfortunate mistakes in the operation of her business, and has accepted full responsibility for her actions. She has already paid back a large portion of the money she owes to the IRS, and in the near future expects to pay off every cent that is due to the government.”
Weber’s daughters, Juliana and Amanda Starbuck, are both horse trainers and operate their hunter/jumper business, Starbuck Equestrian, out of Stepping Stone Farm.
Rate My Horse PRO contacted the US Attorney’s Office and Spokesman Tom Carson reports, “without getting too much into specifics, there is [still] an ongoing investigation.”