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Farmington Hills doctor sentenced for obstructing tax probe

Mark Hicks
The Detroit News

A Farmington Hills physician has been sentenced to prison for obstructing an Internal Revenue Service investigation, federal officials announced Tuesday.

Dr. Richard MacAuley pleaded guilty in January to misleading IRS officers, withholding records and providing a false document in response to a summons, U.S. Attorney Andrew Birge said in a statement.

In December 2017, the IRS was investigating MacAuley’s chain of clinics, Sleep Diagnostics of Michigan, for failing to pay more than $500,000 in federal payroll taxes, according to the release.

Multiple forms printed from the Internal Revenue Service web page that are used for 2018 U.S. federal tax returns.

"The IRS sought to determine whether there was any basis to transfer and collect SDM’s outstanding taxes from an Okemos-based provider, Advanced Sleep Diagnostics of Michigan," officials said. "While Dr. MacAuley was ASDM’s owner on paper, he withheld the ownership document from the IRS and falsely denied any relationship between the companies. Dr. MacAuley then falsely claimed that he sold SDM’s assets to ASDM in 2016."

When the IRS issued a summons for the sales contract that didn't exist, two people "created a fraudulent and backdated Asset Purchase Agreement" that MacAuley signed and gave in May 2018 along with a cover letter claiming it was “in effect as of July 18, 2016," investigators said.

U.S. District Judge Janet T. Neff sentenced MacAuley, 74, to two years in prison. 

“Dr. MacAuley obstructed the IRS’s efforts to collect over half a million dollars in payroll taxes, including tax revenue that funds the federal unemployment trust fund on which millions of Americans rely,” Birge said. “We will continue to work with our IRS partners to hold accountable those who defraud our tax system.”

Sarah Kull, Special Agent in Charge of IRS-Criminal Investigation for the Detroit Field Office, added: “Withholding material records and providing false or misleading documents to the IRS undermines the integrity of our financial system and will not be tolerated.”