East Lyme bail bondsman sentenced to prison, then home confinement for tax evasion

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A bail bondsman from East Lyme was sentenced Friday in U.S. District Court in New Haven to five months in prison, followed by five months of home confinement, for federal tax offenses.

Regan Tippett, 43, of East Lyme, a partner in Statewide Bail Bonds, which has a New London office, had pleaded guilty to two counts of willful failure to keep tax records.

U.S. District Judge Janet C. Hall also imposed a year of supervised release following the completion of the home confinement, imposed a $3,000 fine and ordered Tippett to repay the government $69,837.

He is scheduled to turn himself in on March 18 to begin serving his sentence.

According to the government, Tippett underpaid his federal income taxes by that amount for the 2010 through 2012 tax years. He deposited cash and checks derived from bail bond fees into his personal bank account and failed to report that income to the company's outside accountant who prepared both the company's and Tippett's federal income tax returns, according to the government.

The case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Douglas P. Morabito and Christopher W. Schmeisser.

The prosecutors recommended a prison term of at least five months in a sentencing memorandum submitted to the judge, noting he has partners in the business, which only has a few employees and relies largely on independent contractors.

Tippett had a history of non-payment of taxes and has not filed personal tax returns for the last five years, according to the memorandum. The last filed tax return for Statewide Bail Bonds is 2015, and no tax returns have been filed for another of his businesses, Statewide Pawn in Salem.

He chose to use his money for trips and to purchase multiple luxury cars rather than keep current on his tax obligations, according to the prosecution.

"Further, the need for deterrence is particularly high here where the defendant to this day appears to continue to minimize his conduct and any sentence will be seen as a message to many in the bail bonds industry — an industry rife with tax non-compliance issues because of the ease of conducting business in non-traceable cash," says the memorandum.

Tippett's attorney, Michael G. Chase of the Shipman & Goodwin law firm, wrote in his sentencing memorandum that Tippett is "working with a new accountant to address any outstanding tax issues, has undertaken efforts to improve his business's recordkeeping, and has implemented other measures in his business operations to prevent future issues of this kind."

Chase had suggested a period of home confinement and incarceration, given Tippett's lack of a criminal record, acceptance of responsibility, agreement to pay restitution with a substantial lump sum payment, remedial measures he's taken, his statistically low risk of recidivism, and the lack of any threat to the public.

k.florin@theday.com

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