Dyer doctor sentenced to prison for not paying payroll taxes
By Teresa Auch Schultz email@example.com April 11, 2014 1:48PM
Updated: May 13, 2014 6:10AM
A federal judge sentenced a Dyer doctor Friday to a year and a day in prison for pocketing more than $500,000 in his employees’ payroll taxes, denying the defendant’s request for probation.
“I just cannot in good conscience put the defendant on probation,” U.S. District Judge Philip Simon said during the sentencing hearing.
The judge also ordered Dr. Ronald Eugene Jamerson, 56, of Schererville, to pay $541,083 in restitution to the IRS.
Jamerson, an ear, nose and throat specialist, pleaded guilty in October to keeping the money that had been taken from his employees’ paychecks in order to pay their taxes to the IRS.
This wasn’t his first run in with the IRS, however. According to both sides in the case, Jamerson had already been on a payment plan with the IRS since about the mid-1990s after he struggled to pay his own tax bills.
He fell behind when the medical group he then worked for struggled financially. He also lost his house, which he owned outright and was worth about $500,000, after he failed to pay $17,000 in property taxes.
His attorney Theodore Poulos argued that although Jamerson is a brilliant doctor who has helped the poor not only in Northwest Indiana but also in Africa, he is a horrible businessman and became overwhelmed by his debt.
“I think it’s clear he just buried his head in the sand,” Poulos said.
Erin Mellen, an attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice’s Tax Division, argued that Jamerson had actually used an accountant during the six years he was keeping his employees’ taxes who urged him to pay them. He also spent about $1.7 million during that same time period, including $500,000 on credit cards, $230,000 on cars and even $109,815 on the Family Christian Center in Munster. Mellen argued his spending shows he was more than able to pay the taxes owed.
Jamerson apologized to the court and his family for his actions, saying he has finally learned the need to pay his taxes.
“I now understand the full consequences of not paying my taxes,” he said.
Simon said he appreciated all the work that Jamerson has done, which includes being one of the few ear, nose and throat doctors in the region to accept patients on Medicaid, which does not pay as much as other insurance providers.
“He’s nothing but a good, kind decent man,” Simon said.
The judge also noted how hard it can be to ever pay off a debt to the IRS because of the added penalties and interest.
At the same time, Simon said, he struggled to comprehend how someone could go so long and just ignore the problem.
“This is just a level of deliberate indifference that is frankly hard to believe and hard to swallow,” the judge said.
He also factored in Jamerson’s spending habits, which came to about $300,000 a year during the criminal period. Simon said he could have still easily lived on $225,000 a year and used the rest to pay down his debts.
The sentence was below the two years called for by federal sentencing guidelines. Jamerson will remain out on bond until he must report to prison on June 10.