The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

News

September 24, 2012

Tax dodger gets a deal

Cooperation, wife’s health lead to deferred jail time

WILLIAMSPORT — A Paxinos man who formerly owned a pool hall in Shamokin raided for illegal gambling six years ago will spend three months in prison for evading federal income taxes and failing to report to the U.S. Railroad Retirement Board his earned income as required because he is a disability annuitant.

Robert E. Kehler, 54, was sentenced Monday by U.S. Middle District Judge John E. Jones III who deferred the start of the jail sentence to Jan. 7 because the defendant’s wife is battling cancer.

The jail sentence will be followed by a three-year period of supervised release, the first three months of which Kehler will be confined to home under electronic monitoring.

The sentencing guidelines called for a sentence in the range of 24 to 30 months, but the government agreed to a lesser term because Kehler immediately accepted responsibility and his cooperation has led to other arrests.

He must make restitution of $131,918 to the retirement board and forfeit interests in a 2011 Harley-Davidson motorcycle, a 1994 Ford truck, cash totaling $45,737 and 31 video gaming devices.

Kehler, who has a record that includes receiving stolen property, simple assault and drunken driving, pleaded guilty in March to charges of tax evasion and theft of public money.

He was the owner of Q-Stix Pool & Game Room in Shamokin that was among the establishments raided for gambling in June 2006. Search warrants were obtained and 31 illegal gambling devices were seized.

Kehler admitted he had not reported the business income to the railroad board or to his tax preparer and received payments to which he was not entitled from the board for the period between Jan. 1, 2006, and October 2010.

The railroad board has limits on the amount of earned income that can be earned to be entitled to benefits, Assistant U.S. Attorney Wayne P. Samuelson said.

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