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Louisiana politician pleads not guilty to tax fraud charges

The term "white collar crime" is often used to describe a variety of different types of illegal actions including embezzlement, insider trading and fraud. Louisiana residents charged with these crimes will face many of the same potential penalties as those accused of ordinary theft crimes, but their cases are typically more complicated. Trials in these cases usually require expert witnesses and detailed examinations of evidence. They can also have important effects outside of the courtroom and beyond the life of the accused and the accused person's family.

A former Louisiana lawmaker who resigned his seat after investigators accused him of tax fraud pleaded not guilty recently. Former State Rep. Girod Jackson III was charged with making false statements on his tax returns and failing to file tax returns. According to a federal investigation, Jackson claimed in his tax return for the year 2006 that his construction management company had made only $108,000, when in fact it had made $600,000. Investigators said he failed to file any taxes in 2007 and 2008. He was given one-year extensions to file those returns but never did file them, according to prosecutors.

After resigning his position with the Legislature in August, Jackson released a public statement in which he admitted to making mistakes on his tax returns. Jackson's company filed for bankruptcy earlier this year.

Louisiana residents may be quick to judge politicians or businesspeople when they are accused of white collar crimes, but it is important to remember that they have the right to a defense. Those accused of white collar crimes in Louisiana need to build that defense with the help of attorneys who understand the complexity and peculiar difficulties of this area of the law.

Source: The Times-Picayune, "Former State Rep. Girod Jackson arraigned in federal court," Juliet Linderman, Sep. 5, 2013

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