Federal Government Recognizes New Mexico Farmer For Huge Yields
Farmers typically relish in high yielding crops. One New Mexico farmer had a “bin buster” and the federal government has recognized his efforts and will reward him appropriately. The Justice Department has announced that Bill Melot, a Hobbs, New Mexico farmer, has been charged with tax evasion, failure to file tax returns, impeding the IRS and illegally receiving federal farm program payments. Melot initially appeared in court on August 18, 2009. Melot owns approximately 250 acres in Lea County, NM and received more than $225,000 in USDA farm program payments even though he failed to file a tax return since 1986 and had more than $18 million in unpaid taxes. The indictment claims that Melot concealed his ownership of the farmland by notarizing forged deeds and titling the property in the names of various nominees. The indictment also claims that Melot used false Social Security numbers and fictitious employer identification numbers in an attempt to hide his assets from the IRS, and used false employer identification numbers to collect federal farm program payments. The indictment also claims that Melot maintained a Swiss bank account in an attempt to hide his income.
In mid-April, 2010, a jury convicted Melot of tax evasion, failing to file and making false statements to USDA officials and impeding the IRS. Melot’s unpaid taxes of over $18 million could, under federal sentencing guidelines, result in a prison sentence of up to 6 and ½ years. But, that could be adjusted up or down by the court based on the evidence. In addition, Melot still is on the hook for the unpaid taxes, plus interest, plus penalties. Melot will need a good-paying prison job to make that kind of cash.
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