Former NCSU Diving Coach Jailed for State Tax Charges

Date:  June 28, 2007

RALEIGH – North Carolina State University’s former head diving coach was sentenced to an active prison term Thursday in Wake County Superior Court on felony tax charges filed by the North Carolina Department of Revenue.

Michael H. Finneran, 58, of 121 Flora McDonald Lane, Cary was sentenced on June 28, 2007 after a jury found him guilty on five counts of attempting to evade or defeat the North Carolina individual income tax. Superior Court Judge J. B. Allen, Jr. sentenced Finneran to five consecutive five-month minimum, six-month maximum prison terms. Finneran was remanded to the custody of the Department of Corrections and escorted from the courtroom by a Wake County Deputy Sheriff.

The state’s evidence showed that Finneran filed fraudulent individual income tax returns with the Department of Revenue for the tax years 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2005. The W-2 forms issued to Finneran by his employers showed that he received wages of $147,242.64 in 2002; $181,936.18 in 2003; $73,431.90 in 2004; and $59,605.21 in 2005. However for each of those years, Finneran filed false W-2 forms with his state tax returns which listed his wages as $0. Finneran also prepared and submitted a false employee’s withholding allowance certificate to his employer during 2003 in which he claimed to be exempt from North Carolina’s withholding tax.

The state’s evidence showed that Finneran did not consider himself an employee of any of the entities by which he was employed from 2002 through 2005 and did not believe the payments made to him by these entities, which included North Carolina State University, were taxable wages. North Carolina State University employed Finneran from January 2004 through December 2006.

The charges against Finneran resulted from an investigation by an administrative officer with the Department’s Personal Taxes Division and a special agent with the Department’s Criminal Investigations Division in Raleigh. Finneran has indicated that he will appeal the ruling.

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