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'Boro business owner pleads guilty to tax evasion

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Melissa Sue Baker, 39, of Murfreesboro Tenn., pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court, to two counts of tax evasion, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Jack Smith of the Middle District of Tennessee.

Baker owned and operated Ascendant, a payroll processing and employee-leasing company in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. According to the plea agreement, Baker admitted that from January 2011 through December 2012, she collected but failed to pay over employment taxes on behalf of her clients and Ascendant's employees. Baker also admitted that, while she provided her clients at times, with accurate employment tax returns, she deliberately chose not to file the accurate tax returns with the IRS. Instead, Baker filed false forms with the IRS that underreported wages, withholdings, and Social Security and Medicare taxes. Baker further admitted that she diverted employment taxes for her own personal use.

Baker faces a statutory maximum sentence of five years in prison for each tax evasion conviction, as well as a period of supervised release, restitution, and monetary penalties, when she is sentenced on August 30, 2017.

The case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Ryan R. Raybould is prosecuting the case on behalf of the United States.

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