Former Indy-area attorney pleads guilty to tax evasion

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A former attorney in Brownsburg who prepared tax returns for clients in the Indianapolis area has pleaded guilty to trying to evade payment of his own taxes and faces as much as five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

A federal indictment for Scott C. Cole, 54, charges him with failing to report more than $1.5 million in income for the 2001 and 2002 tax years. As a result, he owed more than $1 million in taxes and penalties over those two years, according to the filing.

In a plea agreement signed Wednesday, Cole pleaded guilty to one count of tax evasion, which corresponded to the 2002 tax year. The tax loss for 2002 was relatively small compared to the two-year total, but prosecutors have agreed to dismiss the count for 2001 if Cole agreed to plead guilty to the count for 2002.

From 2012 through 2017, when the IRS sought to collect the money, he took extensive steps to evade paying, according to Cole’s plea agreement.

The total tax loss of more than $1.5 million will be considered at sentencing and for determining restitution, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

The potential maximum penalty for the offense is five year’s imprisonment, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release. Prosecutors have agreed to recommend a three-year sentence.

Southern District of Indiana Chief Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson is expected to schedule Cole’s sentencing for late summer.

Cole resigned from the Indiana bar in 2014. According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, the resignation followed the filing of a complaint by the Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission, which charged Cole with filing fraudulent tax returns for 2001 and 2002.

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