SW Mo. Optometrist Convicted of Fraud, Tax Evasion
SPRINGFIELD (AP) - A southwest Missouri optometrist has been convicted on nine counts of income tax evasion and fraud, including a claim for a $40 million federal tax refund.
The U.S. Attorney's office says a jury in Springfield took slightly more than an hour Wednesday to find Dr. Leslie Robert MacLaren guilty. Sentencing for the 61-year-old Nixa resident will be scheduled later.
Prosecutors said MacLaren failed to file tax returns for several years and hid income and assets, including a three-story house on a six-acre property. He was also convicted of fraudulently filing for bankruptcy to erase back tax liabilities.
Authorities said MacLaren also challenged the authority of the Internal Revenue Service, frivolously sued IRS agents and -- following his indictment -- filed a tax return claiming a $40 million refund.
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