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Former Joplin councilman pleads guilty to tax violations

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Former Joplin City Councilman and business owner Robert Landis, 44, has pleaded guilty in federal court for failure to pay employee payroll taxes.

Landis, the former owner of Priority Personnel of Missouri, Priority Personnel of Kansas and Loma Landis LLC, appeared in court before U.S. District Judge Richard Dorr on Aug. 24, where he pleaded guilty to failing to collect, truthfully account for, or pay federal employment taxes and federal income tax on employee wages to the Internal Revenue Service, according to a news release from Beth Phillips, U.S. attorney for the Western District of Missouri.

The government assessed the total tax loss at nearly $5 million, asserting that Landis failed to collect, account for or pay employment and income tax for all three of his businesses. Landis, however, pleaded guilty to only failure to collect, account for or pay the payroll taxes that were deducted and withheld from the paychecks of Priority Personnel of Missouri employees.

The parties do not agree on the total amount of the tax loss for sentencing or restitution purposes, and they reserve the right to litigate this issue at sentencing.

Landis was the owner of Priority Personnel of Missouri and Priority Personnel of Kansas, temporary employment agencies, from December 2003 until June 2007, when he sold the companies' assets to Peoplelink. Landis was also the owner of Loma Landis LLC, which managed residential structures known as villas and operated nearby golf courses. Landis operated Loma Landis from 2005 to 2009, when a lender foreclosed on the villas.

Under federal statutes, Landis is subject to a sentence of up to five years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine of up to $250,000 and an order of restitution. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the U.S. Probation Office.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven M. Mohlhenrich.[[In-content Ad]]

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