Fort Ripley businessman pleads guilty to tax fraud

The owner and operator of five central Minnesota construction companies pled guilty May 26 in U.S. District Court to failing to pay more than $822,000 in federal income and employment taxes withheld from employees. Scott R. Lennander, age 39, Fort Ripley, pleaded guilty to six counts of failure to turn over taxes due to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). He entered his plea before U.S. District Judge Joan N. Ericksen in St. Paul.

Lennander operated and had ownership interest in five construction businesses located in the Fort Ripley area: Lennander Contracting; Window and Siding Installation Services, Inc.; Lennander Contracting; Window and Siding Installation Services, Inc.; and Window Star Home Improvements, Inc. Two payroll companies hired to prepare the payroll and employment tax information for Lennander’s construction companies notified Lennander on a weekly basis of the amounts of federal income and employment taxes withheld from employees’ paychecks. Those amounts were to be remitted to the IRS. Lennander admitted in court, however, that for the 13 taxable quarters from March 2000, through March 2002, he failed to provide the IRS with federal income and employment tax withholdings in the amount of $822,707.91.

Lennander faces a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine on each count of failure to pay over taxes to the IRS. The actual sentence will be determined by Judge Ericksen. A sentencing date has not been set.

The case is the result of an investigation by the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigations, and was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Frank J. Magill.

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