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Business owner pleads guilty to evading taxes

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A Springfield business owner pleaded guilty yesterday to failing to pay more than $300,000 in employment taxes.

John “Scott” Hardwick, 51, waived his right to an indictment before admitting he attempted to evade taxation, according to a news release from the office of Tim Garrison, U.S. attorney for the Western District of Missouri.

Through his businesses JTBT Investments LLC and Hardwick Quartz & Granite LLC, Hardwick accumulated $306,298 in employment tax liabilities between 1994 and 2016. He failed to pay the money to the IRS.

The IRS issued a notice of intent to levy in 2016, through which the agency threatened to contact individuals and businesses with which Hardwick conducted business to notify them of the taxes owed to the government.

The notice also indicated the IRS would direct those customers to pay the agency rather than Hardwick to collect the amount due. Hardwick admitted that he directed at least two of his customers to disregard the IRS, saying he would not complete their ongoing projects if they paid the IRS instead of him, according to the release.

Under federal statutes, Hardwick could receive a sentence of up to five years in federal prison without parole. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the U.S. Probation Office’s presentence investigation, according to Garrison’s office.

Hardwick’s Springfield Granite Co. previously reached annual sales of at least $2.4 million, according to Springfield Business Journal archives from 2004. The company filed for bankruptcy in 2005, reporting liabilities between $1 million and $10 million.

Hardwick sold the business during the bankruptcy reorganization but later took back ownership, according to SBJ archives. Along the way, he changed the name to The Granite Source of Missouri LLC, and later, it became JTBT Investments LLC, according to Missouri secretary of state records.

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