Spokane, Washington – Vanessa R. Waldref, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, announced that Rhonda Ackerman, age 54 of Spokane, Washington pleaded guilty to two counts of willfully failing to file federal income tax returns. Ackerman faces a maximum statutory penalty of a 1-year term of imprisonment, a $100,000 fine, followed by a 1-year term of supervised release, the payment of restitution and the costs of prosecution for each count of conviction.
According to court documents, in 2014, 2015 and 2016, Ackerman was employed as a liability claims technician at Spokane County Department of Risk Management. In each year, Ackerman willfully failed to file federal income tax returns reporting gross income. Court documents state the United States will recommend certain sentencing enhancements for Ackerman’s failure to report the source of income exceeding $10,000 in any year from criminal activity and using a minor to commit a crime and abusing a position of public trust. Ackerman can oppose such enhancements.
“Law abiding taxpayers fund critical services that keep our community safe and strong,” said U.S. Attorney Waldref. “Each of us is responsible for filing a tax return when required and for paying the correct amount of tax due. While working for Spokane County, Ms. Ackerman chose to ignore her duty to file and pay taxes and will now face the consequences. I’m grateful to the investigators who diligently investigate tax schemes like Ms. Ackerman’s and ensure that all taxpayers pay their fair share.”
“Ms. Ackerman’s actions hurts all Americans,” said IRS Criminal Investigation (CI) Special Agent in Charge Bret Kressin, “CI will continue its efforts to hold accountable those who feel they’re above the law in partnership with the United States Attorney’s office.”
Senior United States District Judge Rosanna Malouf Peterson will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors. Ackerman is scheduled to be sentenced on May 16, 2023, at 10:00 a.m. in Spokane, Washington.
In a separate prosecution in Spokane County Superior Court, Ackerman was convicted on one count of First Degree Theft. On January 4, 2023, she was sentenced in the state court matter to serve a year in state prison and required to repay Spokane County $1,378,541 in public funds, which she stole over a decade while employed as a liability claims technician.
This case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation, with the assistance of the Spokane Police Department. This case is being prosecuted by George J.C. Jacobs, III, Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington.