House flipping may look fun and easy on HGTV, but it comes with more than a few strings attached.
Case in point: David J. Simard pleaded guilty to one count of obstructing the lawful functions of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and four counts of failing to file personal and corporate income tax returns in connection to his house flipping endeavors in Maryland. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Simard began flipping homes during the 1980s, but in January 2008 he received an IRS notice for documents and information from third parties regarding his real estate transactions; Simard was also being audited on his personal income taxes. Less than one month after receiving this notice, Simard created Pegasus Home Corporation and flipped 96 properties from 2009 through 2010 in its name instead of his own.
If that wasn’t bad enough, Simard attempted to conceal his ownership and control of Pegasus by falsely representing that a relative was the owner—and the relative played along by applying to the IRS for an employer identification number for Pegasus while opening a bank account for Pegasus. Simard also failed to file personal tax returns for tax years 2009 and 2010, nor did he corporate tax returns for those years.
Simard is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 12 in U.S. District Court and faces a statutory maximum penalty of three years in prison for obstructing the IRS and one year in prison for each count of failure to file tax returns. He also faces a period of supervised release, restitution and monetary penalties.