Orthopedic surgeon, wife get 5 years in prison for tax crimes


A North Carolina orthopedic surgeon and his wife were sentenced to five years in prison Jan. 28 for federal employment and individual income tax fraud.

Five notes:

1. James Rice, MD, owner of Pinehurst, N.C.-based Sandhills Orthopaedic and Spine Clinic, and his wife Susan, who oversaw administrative operations at the practice, conspired to defraud the IRS, evaded tax payments and failed to pay employment taxes and file tax returns, according to the Justice Department.

2. In total, the surgeon and his wife did not pay more than $2.4 million in personal, corporate and employment taxes they owed.

3. Prosecutors said the couple transferred about $1 million from Sandhills Orthopaedic's bank accounts to other accounts, including personal bank accounts and a business account linked to a truffle company owned by Ms. Rice. They also used the practice's bank accounts to pay for personal expenses, including a country club membership and dog kennel boarding.

4. The couple also withheld almost $580,000 in Social Security and other taxes from employee wages from 2007 to 2016 and kept those funds for their own use instead of turning them over to the IRSaccording to the Justice Department.

5. In addition to prison time, the Rices were ordered to pay $2.4 million in restitution to the U.S.

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