Well-known Delaware photographer Bruce Kevin Fleming of Milton has been sentence to one year in federal prison for federal tax evasion.
Fleming, whose books of Delaware have been popular sellers, pled guilty to the charges against him on Aug. 26, 2020, and was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Richard G. Andrews.
At the time of his plea, Fleming had not filed federal income tax returns or paid any such taxes since 1981.
Fleming’s sentence includes $192,529 restitution to the IRS for income taxes due and owing from 2002 through 2016. Fleming was also ordered to make restitution to the IRS for $22,584 in payroll taxes which he withheld from his employees’ wages in 2016 and 2017 but never turned over to the IRS.
The indictment covered the years 2012–2016. Fleming had the money to pay his income taxes for those years, as his total net income was $393,000, a press release said. However, he was living beyond his means, the press release said, spending a total of $75,000 in restaurants/bars and $2,350 monthly to rent a $800,000 house in Lewes, one block from the beach.
The press release said the criminal investigation was initiated only after Fleming ignored all of the IRS’s numerous letters and civil assessments.
“Our nation’s ability to operate and serve its citizenry depends on voluntary compliance with tax obligations,” said United States Attorney David C. Weiss in the press release. “The defendant not only willfully evaded his personal income tax obligations, but he failed to pay over taxes withheld from his employees’ paychecks, demonstrating a complete disregard for their individual tax liabilities.”
Fleming disregarded his tax responsibility for nearly two decades, said Yury Kruty, acting special agent in charge of IRS-Criminal Investigation. “Taxpayers want to know that everyone is doing their part and paying their fair share of taxes.”
Fleming, a former photographer for National Geographic, had had galleries in Rehoboth Beach and Lewes. Two of his most recent books are 2010’s “Wild Delmarva” and 2012’s “The Beach: Wildlife, Nature and the Beauty of Coastal Delaware.”
Betsy Price is a Wilmington freelance writer who has 40 years of experience.
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