Religious counselor convicted of tax evasion

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) -- A federal jury convicted the owner of a Christian counseling business of failing to pay tax on more than $400,000 in income.

Christopher Kidwell was convicted Tuesday on four counts of filing a false tax return and one count of making a false statement to federal officials. He faces a maximum possible sentence of three years in prison on each of the tax evasion charges and up to five years for making the false statement.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Gary Humble told the Chattanooga Times Free Press that during a four-day trial, Kidwell blamed his accountants for tax errors for the years 2002 to 2004 and that he was naive about financial matters.

Humble said evidence showed that Kidwell knew about hundreds of deductions he made on the returns, including sums as little as $1 for office supplies to run his non-profit, Christian counseling business called The Zachaeus Group.

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Information from: Chattanooga Times Free Press, http://www.timesfreepress.com

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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