State Rep. Earle Banks (Photo from Legislature's website)
According to Judge Reeves, State Representative Banks received more than the average sentence for this crime because he originally blamed someone else.
State Representative Earle Banks pled guilty in May to federal income tax charges. He has since been sentenced to two years probation.
Banks, a Democratic lawmaker, has served Mississippi House District 67 for 30 years and ran unopposed for his seat in November while out on bond.
He pled guilty to making a false material statement on federal income tax returns. The U.S. Attorney’s office charged him of breaking the law after he sold family land and failed to report it on his tax return.
Banks only pled guilty to one of the counts against him. However, evidence was also provided that indicated he underreported income on his business, Autumn Woods Memorial Gardens, over the years.
At the time of his indictment, the U.S. Attorney’s office said the failure to report income was more than $500,000.
“According to admissions by Banks, he failed to report more than $500,000 of income resulting from the sale of real property. Banks admitted that he was aware of his legal duty to report that income, and instead willfully failed to report that income to the IRS on a 2018 Form 1040X tax return. Banks also admitted that the United States Attorney’s Office has sufficient evidence to convict him at trial if he had decided to go to trial instead of pleading guilty. It is against federal law to intentionally file false income tax returns which deliberately report less income than a person actually received,” U.S. Attorney Statement
Banks’ sentencing was conducted by U.S. District Court Judge Carlton Reeves.
Despite typical sentencing for the crime on average being 14-18 months of probation, Reeves gave the State House member two years.
Judge Reeves attributed the additional time to Banks statements in which he initially blamed someone else, according to WLBT.