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Great Falls man booked for DUI after pleading guilty to employment tax fraud

Thomas O’Connell
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Posted at 8:30 AM, Mar 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-27 10:02:22-04

(UPDATE, MARCH 25) The booking photo above is from the Cascade County Detention Center. O'Connell was booked into the jail at 2:54 a.m. on Thursday on two charges: driving under the influence of alcohol (1st offense), and unlawful possession of open alcoholic beverage container in motor vehicle on highway.

(WEDNESDAY, MARCH 24) Thomas O’Connell of Great Falls has pleaded guilty to employment tax fraud, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

According to court documents, O’Connell owned and operated three plumbing businesses based in Great Falls - Quality Plumbing and Heating, Orbit Plumbing and Heating, and Orbit PHC.

From at least 2005 through 2016, O’Connell did not pay employment taxes for several quarters, despite being obligated to ensure such taxes were paid to the IRS. Instead, he directed payments to other creditors and to his own personal expenses.

The total tax loss to the IRS from O’Connell’s conduct is more than $550,000.

O’Connell is scheduled to be sentenced on June 24, 2021, and faces up to five years in prison. He also faces a period of supervised release, restitution, and monetary penalties.

A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stuart M. Goldberg of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and Acting U.S. Attorney Leif M. Johnson for the District of Montana made the announcement in a news release on Wednesday, March 24.