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Amherst businessman gets probation for tax evasion

An Amherst business owner convicted of tax evasion has been sentenced to four years’ probation, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced.

George Ward, 57, of North Tonawanda, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge John L. Sinatra to serve his first six months in home incarceration, which requires complete lock-down except for activities specifically approved by the court, and the second six months in home detention, which is less restrictive.

Ward was also ordered to pay $2.6 million in restitution to the IRS and $646,770 to the State Department of Taxation and Finance.

Between 2015 and 2020, Ward, who owned operated a fire protection and inspection business, failed to file personal income tax returns, which included substantial business revenues. He also failed to pay income, Social Security and Medicare taxes withheld from the pay of his employees, resulting in a tax loss to the IRS of $953,793. 

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Ward also neglected to file his state taxes, totaling $165,645. Prosecutors said he additionally made false statements to an IRS revenue officer about filing his taxes and the status of his business, independently cashed more than $2 million in checks from customers, and deposited cash from his business activities into a bank account held in his wife’s name.

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