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Gresham man gets probation, ordered to pay restitution in theft, tax fraud and evasion case

Gresham man gets probation, ordered to pay restitution in theft, tax fraud and evasion case

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YORK – Curt E. Jensen, 52, of Gresham has been sentenced to probation with a restitution order, in a case involving felony theft, tax fraud and tax evasion. This was a case in which he was accused of selling his employers’ fuel and keeping the money for himself.

Jensen was initially charged with three counts of evading income tax – each is a Class 4 felony that carries a possible maximum sentence of two years in prison with 12 months of post-release supervision and/or a $10,000 fine; four counts of filing fraudulent Nebraska income taxes, also Class 4 felonies; and theft by unlawful taking with a value of more than $5,000, a Class 2A felony which carries a possible maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

The charges were later amended to attempted filing of a false tax return, a Class 1 misdemeanor; attempted filing of a false tax return, a Class 1 misdemeanor; attempted filing of a false tax return, a Class 1 misdemeanor; attempted theft by unlawful taking, a Class 1 misdemeanor; attempted theft by unlawful taking, a Class 1 misdemeanor and attempted theft by unlawful taking, a Class 1 misdemeanor.

The charges were later amended to three counts of attempted filing of a false tax return, all Class 1 misdemeanors; and three counts of attempted theft by unlawful taking, all Class 1 misdemeanors.

The case was investigated by senior tax fraud investigators with the Nebraska Department of Revenue, according to documents filed with the York County Court.

Court documents said that Jensen was employed by a company that sold and delivered dyed diesel fuel for farm equipment and clear diesel fuel for vehicles such as semi-trucks. Jensen was a delivery driver for that company and would take that type of fuel to farms and trucking companies, etc.

Investigators said in those court filings that Jensen would deliver both dyed and clear diesel fuel to a particular customer on a regular basis. It was alleged he asked that customer to write a check for what was owed for the dyed diesel to the company from which it came and a check to Jensen personally for the clear diesel.

Investigators point out in their report to the court that the clear diesel was not Jensen’s to sell, as it belonged to his employer.

This allegedly went on for a number of years.

When questioned about the money Jensen was paid personally by this other person, court documents indicate he told investigators that the other man was paying back a loan. Yet, investigators said they never saw a large amount of money be paid out of Jensen’s account into the other man’s account, indicating an earlier loan.

Investigators said checks written to Jensen by the other man (after investigating his bank account) over the period of five years totaled $123,894 and many of the checks listed that they were for clear diesel fuel. “During the period, January, 2017, through October, 2019, under the statute of limitations for theft, the total amount of sales Jensen made of fuel owned by (his employer) to (the other man) was $93,360.”

An audit of the fuel company showed they were at least 28,000 gallons short of clear diesel fuel.

The investigator also says in his report that “Jensen was the driver that oversaw the reports regarding the diesel fuel. That when it came up short he told the clerical accounting staff not to be concerned with it, that there is always shrinkage involved in this diesel fuel and it’s going to fluctuate.”

Investigators say that “during the time of February 1, 2016, and April 15, 2019, Curt Jensen has evaded tax and filed false individual tax returns, failing to report his true and accurate income on the individual income tax returns to the State of Nebraska. The loss to the State of Nebraska for state income tax is $6,117 for tax years 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018, and $13,748 including penalties and interest.”

And they said further that Jensen “with the intent to evade a tax liability, filed a false individual income tax return, failing to include all income from the sale and theft of motor fuel from (his employer).”

The charges were eventually amended down to the six misdemeanors, to which Jensen pleaded no contest.

This week, Judge James Stecker sentenced Jensen to five years of traditional probation.

Terms of the probation include that he has to pay $5 a month (for a total of $300) for chemical testing fees; he must pay $25 a month (for a total of $1,500) for programming fees; and he must pay $13,787 in restitution to the Nebraska Department of Revenue. He was also sentenced to three 30-day stints in jail – but those are dated a year, two years and three years into the future and can be waived by the court if he is found to be in compliance with the terms of his probation.

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