Connecticut horse trainer Juliana Starbuck was sentenced today by a US District Judge to one year of probation and a $1,000 fine. The Starbuck Equestrian owner attempted to remove more than $1.3 million in cash from safe deposit boxes, in order to prevent its seizure by federal agents, during a criminal investigation.
Search warrants were issued in early December 2007 authorizing IRS agents to search Stepping Stone Farm and two safe deposit boxes at a branch of Webster Bank. Starbuck’s mother, Juliana Cole Weber, was being investigated for tax evasion. Before agents arrived at the bank, Starbuck emptied the safe deposit boxes of envelopes containing cash. Agents arrived to find Starbuck bagging more than $1.3 million in cash that she had removed from the boxes. The IRS agents took custody of the cash.
Weber, who owns Stepping Stone Farm pleaded guilty last September to one count of tax evasion and one count of failure to collect and pay tax. Weber admitted she under-reported her taxable federal income by more than $1.1 million over five years, which led to her failure to pay almost $390,000 in personal income taxes on the unreported income.
Weber also failed to collect and pay to the IRS federal income tax withholding and FICA taxes that were owed on Stepping Stone Farm’s employee payroll, for an additional underpayment of almost $200,000 in taxes over two years.
Weber was sentenced to four months in prison earlier this year and ordered to pay a $5,000 fine. As part of a stipulated civil forfeiture agreement, Weber forfeited to the federal government $1 million that was seized at the bank in December 2007. The more than $330,000 that was seized from the safe deposit box, and over $30,000 in cash that was seized from two safes at the Stepping Stone Farm, have been credited against her civil tax liability.
Weber is currently behind bars at The Federal Correctional Institution in Danbury, which houses female offenders in Connecticut.