A New Mexico farmer has been ordered to pay more than $18 million in restitution and sentenced to 14 years in prison for tax fraud and fraudulently collecting government-sponsored farm subsidies.
According to prosecutors, Bill Melot, of Hobbs, hasn’t filed a personal income tax return since 1986.
They say he owes the Internal Revenue Service more than $25 million in federal taxes.
Melot was convicted of tax evasion, failure to file tax returns, making false statements to the USDA and impeding the IRS following a four-day jury trial in Albuquerque.
He must pay nearly $18.5 million in restitution to the IRS and about $227,000 to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Prosecutors say Melot improperly collected farm subsidies by giving the USDA a fake Social Security number and a fictitious employer identification number.