566 F.2d 1056 (6th Cir. 1977), 77-5115, United States v. Garavaglia

Docket Nº:77-5115.
Citation:566 F.2d 1056
Party Name:UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Paul F. GARAVAGLIA, Defendant-Appellant.
Case Date:December 16, 1977
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
 
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Page 1056

566 F.2d 1056 (6th Cir. 1977)

UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee,

v.

Paul F. GARAVAGLIA, Defendant-Appellant.

No. 77-5115.

United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit

December 16, 1977

Argued Oct. 13, 1977.

Page 1057

William J. Weinstein, Weinstein, Kroll & Gordon, Detroit, Mich., for defendant-appellant.

Philip M. Van Dam, U. S. Atty., Steven W. Rhodes, Detroit, Mich., Myron C. Baum and James A. Bruton, Gilbert E. Andrews, Wynette Hewett, Tax Division-Dept. of Justice, Washington, D. C., for plaintiff-appellee.

Before PHILLIPS, Chief Judge, and CELEBREZZE and LIVELY, Circuit Judges.

LIVELY, Circuit Judge.

Paul F. Garavaglia was convicted of attempting to evade income taxes for 1966 and 1967 in violation of 26 U.S.C. § 7201. 1 A jury was waived and the trial judge entered findings of fact and conclusions of law after a trial which lasted ten days. On appeal it is asserted that the evidence at the trial was insufficient to support the district court's conclusion that "the Government has proved each of the essential elements of this offense beyond a reasonable doubt."

Conviction under § 7201 requires proof of three essential elements: (1) willfulness; (2) the existence of a tax deficiency; and (3) an affirmative act constituting an evasion or attempted evasion of a tax. Sansone v. United States, 380 U.S. 343, 351,

Page 1058

85 S.Ct. 1004, 13 L.Ed.2d 882 (1965). At trial the defendant admitted that his tax returns understated taxable income by $22,484 for 1966 and $26,366 for 1967. Filing such false returns satisfied the § 7201 requirement of an affirmative act. Sansone, supra, at 352, 85 S.Ct. 1004. The existence of significant income tax deficiencies for the two years was conceded. The only issue in the trial court, and on appeal, is whether the government proved beyond a reasonable doubt that defendant willfully understated his income with intent to evade or defeat taxes which were due. Garavaglia contends that the evidence showed that the errors were made by his wife, his attorney and an accountant, and that he took no part in recordkeeping or preparation of the tax returns.

During 1966 and 1967 the defendant operated Paul Garavaglia Trucking as a sole proprietorship in Detroit. Starting with one truck in 1955 he had acquired additional equipment and was operating a substantial business by 1966. The defendant testified that he had a seventh grade education and did not understand bookkeeping or taxes. Mrs. Garavaglia kept the "haul tickets" reflecting payments due from customers and the bills and invoices in paper sacks in the dining room of their home. The haul tickets for each customer were totalled from time to time and duplicate invoices were prepared. When...

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