WILMINGTON — A 67-year-old nature photographer was sentenced in federal court Tuesday to one year in federal prison for tax evasion, U.S. District Attorney David C. Weiss said.
In a news release, Bruce Kevin Fleming of Milton was described as a “well-known, freelance photographer” who pleaded guilty on Aug. 26, 2020, according to court documents. At the time of his plea, Fleming had not filed federal income tax returns or paid any such taxes since 1981, the news release said.
Fleming’s sentence includes $192,529 restitution to the IRS for income taxes due and owing. Fleming was also ordered to make restitution to the IRS for $22,584 in payroll taxes which he withheld from his employees’ wages in 2016 and 2017 but never turned over to the IRS, the news release said.
The indictment covered the years 2012–2016. The prosecutor noted that Fleming had the money to pay his income taxes for those years, as his total net income was $393,000; however, Fleming lived beyond his means, spending a total of $75,000 in restaurants/bars and $2,350 monthly to rent an $800,000 house in Lewes, one block from the beach, the news release said.
The prosecutor further said the criminal investigation was initiated only after Fleming ignored all of the IRS’s numerous letters and civil assessments, according to the news release.
Commenting on the sentence, Mr. Weiss noted, “The financial loss in tax cases is shared by every member of the tax-paying public. Our nation’s ability to operate and serve its citizenry depends on voluntary compliance with tax obligations. The defendant not only willfully evaded his personal income tax obligations, but he failed to pay over taxes withheld from his employees’ paychecks, demonstrating a complete disregard for their individual tax liabilities.”
Said Yury Kruty, Acting Special Agent in Charge of IRS-Criminal Investigation, “Today’s sentencing is the culmination of Mr. Fleming disregarding his tax responsibility for nearly two decades.
“Taxpayers want to know that everyone is doing their part and paying their fair share of taxes. IRS-CI will continue to vigorously investigate those individuals who knowingly and willfully evade their tax obligation.”
Fleming previously worked as a photographer for various Delaware publications and National Geographic. He has published more than 20 photography books.