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UPDATED: Ex-Outfitter Guilty of Tax Evasion

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A New Mexico hunting outfitter believed to be now living in Virginia pleaded guilty Friday in state District Court in Santa Fe to five counts of tax evasion, the New Mexico Department of Taxation and Revenue said in a news release.

Kevin L. Sears had been charged with attempting to evade taxes by not filing or paying more than $38,000 in gross-receipts taxes owed the state from 2006 through 2009, the release said.

He was sentenced to two years of probation and ordered to pay $38,937.86 to the Taxation and Revenue Department, with a first payment of $15,000 due within 10 days of sentencing, the department said.

Sears operated Southern Divide Trophy Outfitters in New Mexico, outfitting hunts on several ranches in western New Mexico from the Grants to Gallup area south to Quemado, according to the release.

State Game and Fish officials tipped off state tax agents after he confided to customers that he preferred cash in order to stay under the radar, and an investigation led to his indictment by a Santa Fe grand jury in June.


10:17am 6/21/12 — N.M. Outfitter Charged With Tax Counts

By ABQnews Staff

A New Mexico hunting outfitter was indicted by a Santa Fe grand jury on Tuesday on attempted tax evasion charges for allegedly not filing or paying more than $36,000 in state gross receipts taxes from 2006 through 2009, the New Mexico Department of Taxation and Revenue said in a news release.

Kevin L. Sears, who is believed to be living in Virginia, operates Southern Divide Trophy Outfitters, which has outfitted hunts on several ranches in western New Mexico from Grants to the Gallup area south to Quemado, according to the release.

He is facing six counts of attempting to defeat or evade tax, and if he is convicted of all charges, he could face a maximum sentence of six years in prison and $60,000 in fines.

State tax agents were tipped off by officials from the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, who told them some of Sears’ customers were allegedly told that the outfitter preferred to be paid in cash in order to stay under the radar, the release said.

Taxation and Revenue’s Tax Fraud Investigations Division investigated the case and alleged that Sears had not paid his gross-receipts taxes for three years.

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