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Missouri trucking company owner pleads guilty to tax evasion

Owner-operator must pay back the IRS over $150,000.

A Jefferson City, Missouri. trucking company owner faces up to five years in prison without parole for failing to pay taxes on more than $600,000 in income over three years.

Owner-operator Ryan Phegley pleaded guilty Tuesday in federal court in Missouri to one count of tax evasion.

Phegley, 39, ran Phoenix Freight Lines Inc. from 2010 to 2014. Phoenix leased trucks, hired drivers and obtained freight contracts.

“By pleading guilty today, Phegley admitted that he never filed state or federal individual income tax returns or state or federal business income tax returns for Phoenix for the years 2011-2013, despite earning a total of $642,344 in unreported taxable income during those years,” the U.S. Justice Department (DOJ) stated.

DOJ said Phegley also admitted that in 2011 and 2012, he attempted to evade income tax owed for the 2011 tax year by using the trucking company’s bank account to pay his personal expenses, such as residential mortgage and utilities, personal vehicles, and the remodeling of his residence.

Phegley’s plea agreement requires that he pay $152,570 in restitution to the IRS and $31,604 to the Missouri Department of Revenue.

Five years in prison without parole is the maximum Phegley faces. His actual sentence will be determined by the court based on advisory sentencing guidelines and other factors, according to DOJ.

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John Gallagher

Based in Washington, D.C., John specializes in regulation and legislation affecting all sectors of freight transportation. He has covered rail, trucking and maritime issues since 1993 for a variety of publications based in the U.S. and the U.K. John began business reporting in 1993 at Broadcasting & Cable Magazine. He graduated from Florida State University majoring in English and business.