MADISON (AP) – An Oregon man who co-founded several self-help and personal development companies in Wisconsin was sentenced Tuesday to a year in prison for failing to file federal income tax returns.
Eric T. Plantenberg, 42, of Bend, Oregon, failed to pay taxes for 2006, 2007 and 2008, when he co-owned three companies based in Madison – Personal Freedom Development, Freedom Professional Services and I-Kinetic – and earned $1.3 million, Wisconsin State Journal reported (http://bit.ly/TQZHYW ).
“I made an epic mistake, and it’s hard for me to verbalize,” Plantenberg said. “I grew up in an incredible family. I should have known better.”
His lawyer, Lawrence Brown, had asked for probation.
But U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman said prison time was needed to deter others from taking part in tax scams.
Plantenberg had faced up to 2 ½ years in prison, but Adelman noted he had no previous criminal history and had filed his tax returns regularly since 2008.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy O’Shea said Plantenberg moved money through about a dozen accounts at about a dozen financial institutions to avoid paying taxes.
“This wasn’t just bad judgment by a young man,” O’Shea said. “This was a crime.”
Plantenberg could owe close to $1 million in taxes, penalties and interest once he files all his back returns, Brown said. He said Plantenberg and his wife are selling an Oregon beverage company to help pay off the debt.