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      Hickman Couple Sentenced to Federal Prison for Not Paying Taxes

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      A Hickman couple has been sentenced to federal prison after failing to pay employment taxes in 2006.

      Michael and Laurie Russell were sentenced in U.S. District Court in Lincoln. Michael Russell was sentenced to 16 months in federal prison, followed by six months of house arrest. Laurie Russell was given to six months behind bars, followed by six months of house arrest as well.

      The pair was also ordered to serve three years of supervised release and pay restitution to the Internal Revenue Service. They owe the IRS more than $310,000.

      TheRussells jointly owned and operated North Country Windows, a window installation business. Prosecutors say the couple withheld income and FICA taxes from employee paycheck in 2006. They argued that the couple had the financial ability to pay the taxes, but willfully decided not to.

      "Businessowners have a responsibility to withhold income taxes for employees and remitthose taxes to the Internal Revenue Service," said Sybil Smith, special agent in charge of IRS criminal investigation. "We are committed topursuing those who violate the employment tax laws."

      The Internal Revenue Service Criminal InvestigationDivision investigated this case.

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