North Carolina couple convicted on conspiracy, tax evasion charges

Published 12:26 pm Thursday, September 30, 2021

A North Carolina couple has been convicted of getting around paying employment and income taxes for almost a decade to pay for boarding their dog, a country club membership and visits to a spiritual adviser, the U.S. Department of Justice said.

James and Susan Rice were convicted on conspiracy and tax evasion charges, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for North Carolina’s Middle District said in a news release.

At the time of their indictment nearly a year ago, prosecutors said James Rice was an orthopedic surgeon in Southern Pines, and Susan Rice worked at the practice handling payroll and employment taxes. According to the news release, between 2007 and 2014, the Rices allegedly withheld employment taxes, but didn’t pay more than $580,000 in social security and other tax withholdings to the IRS. The indictment also alleges the Rices didn’t file individual income tax returns from 2014 through 2016 despite exceeding the filing threshold.

The news release says that to conceal their income, the Rices transferred funds from Sandhills Orthopaedic’s bank accounts to other accounts that they controlled, such as those for Susan Rice’s truffle business. The Rices also used their business bank accounts to fund personal expenditures. In all, from June 2013 through December 2016, the Rices diverted at least $1 million in cash and check co-payments to Sandhills Orthopaedic directly into their personal bank accounts, prosecutors said.

A sentencing date has not been set for the Rices, who were convicted on Sept. 20.

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