A Fort Worth man will spend one year in federal prison and must pay more than $450,000 for failing to file his income tax returns.
Richard Tilford, a Fort Worth insurance agent, pleaded guilty on Wednesday. The man who prepared the returns for Tilford is currently under indictment in connection with a murder-to-hire plot that targeted a federal judge and claiming to be a tax attorney, a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s office stated.
Between 1998 and 2006, Tilford earned more than $1.1 million in sales commissions, according to the release. Tilford had not filed tax returns for tax years 1998 to 2003, and in 2004 he hired Phillip Ballard for the purpose of eliminating his federal income taxes.
In 2004, Ballard, acting on behalf of Tilford, filed five frivolous tax returns for 1998 to 2002, and each return indicated that Tilford had zero income and owed no taxes, despite his earning significant income, the release stated. Each of the tax returns was accompanied by a letter acknowledging that Tilford earned money during the year, but he denied that the earnings were income in the “constitutional sense,” the release stated.
Ballard is currently charged in two federal indictments. One indictment charges Ballard with soliciting the murder of U.S. District Judge John McBryde. The other indictment alleges that Ballard presented himself as an attorney providing tax advice and services for hire in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
A trial date of Nov. 26 has been set in the false identity case. No trial date has been scheduled in the murder-for-hire case. -- Mitch Mitchell