Southport Attorney Pleads Guilty to State Tax Charges

Date: 1/24/2005

RALEIGH – A Southport attorney pleaded guilty in Wake County District Court to tax charges filed by the North Carolina Department of Revenue.

Robert S. Griffith, III, 54, of 210 East Brown St., Southport, pleaded guilty on Dec. 14, 2004 to six counts of willfully failing to file his North Carolina individual income tax returns for the tax years 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, and 2002. Griffith pleaded guilty on Jan. 24, 2005 to one count of willfully failing to file his 1996 North Carolina individual income tax return.

Wake County District Court Judge Joyce Hamilton sentenced Griffith to two-45 day prison terms. The sentences were suspended and Griffith was placed on probation for two, consecutive 24-month periods. He was ordered to file his delinquent state individual income tax returns within 60 days and pay the amount of tax due within 120 days of filing the returns. He must also perform 50 hours of community service within 150 days, pay $300 in court costs and file all future returns in a timely manner.

The state’s evidence showed that Griffith has been a practicing criminal attorney for approximately 25 years. He had gross income of at least $82,704 for 1996; $81,493 in 1997; $99,218 in 1998; $124,683 in 1999; $114,311 in 2000; $74,573 in 2001; and $87,234 in 2002.

The charges against Griffith resulted from an investigation by the North Carolina Department of Revenue’s Wilmington field office and a special agent with the Department’s Criminal Investigations Division.

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