by RMHP Staff
Horse trainer Juliana Starbuck has pleaded guilty to removing evidence during a Federal Investigation. The Grand Prix rider and co-owner of Starbuck Equestrian in Connecticut waived her right to indictment and made the plea before a judge today.
According to court documents, in December 2007, the U.S. District Court in Connecticut issued search warrants authorizing agents of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to search Stepping Stone Farm, the stable owned by Starbuck's mother, Juliana Cole Weber, and two safe deposit boxes at a branch of Webster Bank.
Reports state that before IRS agents arrived at the bank, Starbuck emptied the safe deposit boxes of envelopes containing large amounts of cash. When they arrived, the agents found her bagging more than $1.3 million in cash that she had removed from the safe deposit boxes. Agents seized the cash.
Starbuck is scheduled to be sentenced in February and could face up to five years in prison and a fine up to $250,000. She will also pay any back federal taxes with interest and penalties.
In September, Weber pleaded guilty to one count tax evasion and one count of failure to collect and pay tax. Weber admitted that, during the tax years 2001 through 2006, she filed personal income tax returns that under-reported her taxable federal income by more than $1.1 million, resulting in a failure to pay more than $389,000 in personal income taxes due on unreported income. In addition, during the 2005 and 2006 tax years, Weber failed to collect and pay to the IRS federal income tax withholding and FICA taxes that were owed on Stepping Stone Farm’s employee payroll, for a total, additional tax underpayment of more than $190,300.
Weber is scheduled to be sentenced in Federal Court in December. She is facing a maximum prison sentence of ten years and a fine up to $110,000 according to the US Attorney's Office. She is also required to pay all taxes owed, as well as the penalties and interest.
She also has entered into a stipulated civil forfeiture agreement in which she has agreed to forfeit to the federal government the $1 million that was seized at the bank in December 2007. The more than $333,000 that was seized from the safe deposit box, and just over $30,000 in cash that was seized from two safes at the Stepping Stone Farm, will be credited against Weber's civil tax liability.
Starbuck and her sister, Amanda Starbuck, run their hunter/jumper business out of their mother's Stepping Stone Farm.