Rhode Island Representative Pleads Guilty to Tax Evasion

State Representative John McCauley, a Democratic member of the House of Representatives from Providence, Rhode Island, plead guilty yesterday to charges of tax evasion.  McCauley and his business partner had stood accused of trying to defraud the Internal Revenue Service out of $50,000.

McCauley, 54, addressed reporters after entering the guilty plea for the tax evasion charges.  “I made a mistake.  I am remorseful,” McCauley said.  McCauley indicated he is ready to pick up the pieces of his life.

Prosecutors had evidence that McCauley and William L’Europa had filed fraudulent tax returns that underreported the income of their insurance business by almost $2 million.  According to United States Assistant Attorney Sandra Herbert, the fraudulent tax return included business expenses that did not actually exist and was missing actual income from the business.

McCauley and L’Europa had taken a number of checks from their business to a checking cashing business so the income would not appear on their business’ bank statement.

L’Europa had plead guilty to tax evasion charges on Thursday.

McCauley told the court and United States District Court Chief Judge Mary Lisi he was suffering from a mental illness and was undergoing treatment via medication for depression and anxiety as well.  Judge Lisi asked McCauley if the illnesses or medication compromised his ability to understand the implications of entering a guilty plea.  McCauley indicated they did not and that he understood the charges levied against him and the possible punishment from being found guilty.

McCauley and L’Europa will be sentenced in December.  The crime carries a maximum penalty of up to eight years in prison, as well as the requirement that they repay taxes owed as well as a fine.  It is possible McCauley’s attorney will argue the mental illnesses McCauley is suffering from are deserving of leniency when it comes to imposing a sentence for the tax evasion charges.

When asked about the possible length of the prison sentence, McCauley indicated “it’s a lot of time… It’s just something I’ll have to deal with.”

McCauley had been a member of the House of Representatives since 1990.  He currently serves in the role of deputy House speaker.  He is not seeking election to another term.

McCauley is the fifth member of the House of Representatives who has faced criminal charges in the past year.

Dominick Ruggerio, Democratic Representative from North Providence and Senate Majority Leader, was charged with driving under the influence in April.  However, the charge was ultimately dropped when Ruggerio agreed to perform community service.

Robert Watson, Republican Representative from East Greenwich, was charged twice with possession of marijuana in January and April and once with driving under the influence.

Dan Gordon, Republican Representative from Portsmouth, was charged in September 2011 with failing to stop for police and driving with a suspended license.

Leo Medina, Democratic Representative from Providence, was charged in August with practicing law without a license and embezzling funds from his friend’s daughter’s life insurance policy.

Finally, John Carnevale, Democractic Representative from Providence, was charged with sexual assault.  The charges against Carnevale were dropped after the accuser passed away as a result of a medical condition.

by Mark Johnston

Mark has been a contributor to legal web sites related to bankruptcy, tax, and criminal law since 2011. He has an Accounting degree from Texas A&M University.