Former Columbia City Councilman E.W. Cromartie II pleaded guilty Monday in federal court to three counts of tax evasion.
Acting United States Attorney Kevin McDonald says Cromartie can receive a fine of $250,000.00 and imprisonment for five years on the tax charge, and 10 years for two aggravated structuring counts. But prosecutors have agreed on a sentence of one year and one day.
He admitted that he engaged in income and employment tax evasion between 2003-2009. Cromartie, a lawyer, also owned a liquor store, and failed to make appropriate employment tax payments to the IRS for the store.
Cromartie admitted last month that he didn’t pay more than $25,000 in federal income taxes. Officials say he also began structuring the deposit and withdrawal of attorney’s fees in and out of his law firm’s escrow account and maintained only minimal amounts in his firm’s operating account in an effort to prevent the IRS from determining his ability to pay taxes. His plea agreement says he admitted making more than $200,000 in cash deposits and withdrawals just below the IRS reporting minimums.
Special IRS Agent Jeannine Hammett said servants of the people have a sacred responsibility and when they are involved with illegal acts it shakes the trust of the people. She says such cases are diligently pursued.
Cromartie was Columbia’s longest-serving city councilman. Before his resignation, he served in the position for more than 25 years. An election will be held July 13 to fill his seat.