Crime

Mission Hills woman sentenced to prison for lying to feds about Cayman Island businesses

Cheryl Womack admitted to lying about two businesses she was connected to in the Cayman Islands during an investigation into a tax adviser who had done work for her and others.
Cheryl Womack admitted to lying about two businesses she was connected to in the Cayman Islands during an investigation into a tax adviser who had done work for her and others.

A prominent Mission Hills businesswoman was sentenced Monday to one year and six months in prison for lying to government lawyers during a civil tax investigation.

V. Cheryl Womack on Monday paid $1.7 million in taxes that her attorneys and federal prosecutors agreed she owed to the government.

Womack, 66, was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Kansas City, where she pleaded guilty last year to a charge of attempting to interfere with the administration of U.S. internal revenue laws.

“She is deeply regretful about this situation,” her attorneys J.R. Hobbs and Marilyn Keller said in a written statement. “She is also very grateful to the scores of people throughout the community that have rallied behind her for these many years, dozens of whom submitted character letters to the court in support of her.”

The case against Womack had been pending since 2013 when she was named in a 10-count federal grand jury indictment.

In her guilty plea, she admitted to lying about two businesses she was connected to in the Cayman Islands during an investigation into a tax adviser who had done work for her and others.

In exchange for her guilty plea to the single charge, prosecutors dismissed the nine other counts.

“Ms. Womack was not the subject of that investigation, nor a party to the underlying civil litigation,” the defense noted in its statement. “While Ms. Womack was not charged with tax evasion, she voluntarily tendered to the court over $1.7 million in restitution to conclude certain related tax concerns.”

Prosecutors argued that Womack should be sentenced to two years in prison.

They argued in a written sentencing memo that Womack “orchestrated the creation of an intricate web of offshore accounts, trusts, nominees, and shell companies to conceal income and obstruct the IRS.

“Because the IRS did not know about the self-dealing and sham nature of these transactions, the IRS was not able to stop the defendant’s conduct until she had concealed millions of dollars in unreported income, which the parties agree caused $1,704,421.37 in criminal tax loss,” according to the memo.

Her attorneys argued that she should be placed on probation.

“Ms. Womack has continued gainful employment and has been a productive member of the community in which she resides,” her attorneys wrote in their sentencing memo.

They asked the judge to also take into account her “substantial history of charitable acts” when imposing a sentence.

The judge allowed Womack to self-surrender later this summer, after the U.S. Bureau of Prisons determines where she should report.

“She will now faithfully abide by the terms of her sentence, and looks forward to returning her focus to being a productive member of our community,” the defense said in the written statement.

Tony Rizzo: 816-234-4435, @trizzkc

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