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Tax Evasion Nets 8-Month Sentence

Tax Evasion Nets 8-Month Sentence

SANTA FE – A Santa Fe woman who had pleaded guilty to evading federal taxes on income from online pornography has been sentenced to eight months in prison.

Federal officials said Carolynne Tilga, 51, was a minority owner in a Canadian-based Internet business that bills for people who provide online pornography.

Tilga was accused of concealing income from the business by funneling it through foreign corporations and using it to buy a $1.38 million home in Las Campanas, a $1.85 million residence in Hawaii and other properties in Taos Ski Valley and in Colorado.

Tilga had pleaded guilty a year ago to six counts of tax evasion, three counts of filing false tax reports and one count of conspiracy. Her husband, Michael Chandler, 52, had pleaded guilty to one conspiracy charge. He was sentenced to probation.

At sentencing on Friday, U.S. District Judge James Browning ordered the couple to pay $1.7 million in back taxes.


Ex-N.M. Contractor Faces 5 Tax Counts

A former state contractor is in trouble with the federal government over taxes.

Prosecutors say Shelda Sutton-Mendoza has been arraigned on five counts of tax evasion. She pleaded not guilty during a hearing earlier this month. If convicted, she faces up to five years in prison and a $100,000 fine.

At the time of the crimes alleged in the indictment, Sutton-Mendoza owned NYSNC Environmental, a cleanup and testing service. The company contracted primarily with the New Mexico Environmental Department, where Sutton-Mendoza worked for more than six years before leaving to establish her business in 2003.

The indictment alleges that Sutton-Mendoza evaded more than $241,000 in federal personal and corporate taxes from 2003 to 2005 through false returns.

Church Awarded In Energy Challenge

First Unitarian Church of Albuquerque is the National 2011 Interfaith Power & Light Cool Congregation Challenge award winner for renewable energy, the church announced in a news release.

Winners from faith congregations throughout the United States were selected from four categories – energy efficiency, renewable energy, sustainability and water conservation. Each received $1,000.

Applebee’s Loses Fight Over Wages

WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court will allow bartenders and servers who make part of their money through tips to file lawsuits for more money when they do work that doesn’t involve tips.

The high court refused to hear an appeal from Applebee’s International, which wants to overturn a lower court ruling.

Restaurants consider tips as part of some employees’ salary to get the pay up to the minimum wage. But if a worker spends 20 percent of the time doing general maintenance and preparation work, they currently get full minimum wage.

Gerald Fast and others sued, saying that opening and closing restaurants, as well as cleaning and stocking, consumed significant work time and Applebee’s should pay them additional wages.

“Restaurants strive to pay fair wages to all employees,” Carol Wight of the New Mexico Restaurant Association told the Journal on Tuesday. “The difficulty is in interpreting the complicated wage and hour laws, especially for tipped employees in small businesses,” she said.