The fired Minneapolis police officer charged with killing George Floyd was charged in Washington County Court with failure to pay taxes on more than $460,000 in earnings over the last seven years.
Washington County Attorney Pete Orput announced July 22 that Derek Michael Chauvin, 44, and Kellie May Chauvin, 45, of Oakdale have been charged with multiple tax-related felonies. The criminal complaint outline nine counts of felony fraud that was being investigated by the Minnesota Department of Revenue and Oakdale Police Department prior to Chauvin’s involvement in the death of George Floyd. Chauvin is currently being held in the Oak Park Height Minnesota Correctional Facility on second-degree murder and manslaughter charges.
According to the complaints, revenue investigators initiated a review into the Chauvins in June 2020 for failure to timely file Minnesota individual income tax returns from 2016 to 2019 and fraudulently filing tax returns from 2014 to 2019. The complaints allege that the Chauvins knew of their obligation to file state income tax returns due to their filings in previous years and from multiple correspondences sent in 2019 by the department regarding their missing 2016 individual income tax return.
The complaints detail that the Chauvins, both employed and domiciled in Minnesota, failed to file income tax returns and pay state income taxes, underreported and underpaid taxes on income generated from various employments each year, and failed to pay proper sales tax on a vehicle purchased in Minnesota. The income includes his work as a security guard and her work as a photographer under the name KC Images. The charges require the Chauvins to pay $37,868 in back taxes including penalties.
On June 12 – 18 days after George Floyd’s death – investigators with the Minnesota Department of Revenue (MDOR) were assigned a case involving tax violations committed by Chauvin. Chauvin is currently in custody at the Minnesota Correctional Facility at Oak Park Heights, and all inmate calls are recorded. Investigators reviewed Chauvin’s jail calls. Chauvin’s wife called him on June 26, 2020 – one day after investigators executed a search warrant on the Oakdale home. She told him that people were looking into their unfiled tax returns. In the call, Chauvin’s wife tells Chauvin that she is meeting with somebody about “16 to now.” Chauvin suggests using “who we have used to handle for many years.” His wife responds, “Yeah well we don’t want to get your dad involved because he will just be mad at me, I mean us, for not doing them for years. . . “
Investigators then executed a search warrant at the office Chauvin’s father, Robert, a West St. Paul accountant who prepared the Chauvin’s 2014 and 2015 tax returns. His father stated he prepared the 2014 and 2015 tax returns based on information given to him by the Chauvins. While not reported in 2014 and 2015, Robert confirmed that Chauvin had additional income sources outside of Minneapolis Police Department. Robert stated that he filed an extension on behalf of the Chauvins for the 2016 income tax returns – however, the Chauvins never provided financial information for to him to file returns.
Orput took this opportunity to address the obligation each citizen in Minnesota has to their community.
“When you fail to fulfill the basic obligation to file and pay taxes, you are taking money from the pockets of citizens of Minnesota. Our office has and will continue to file these charges when presented,” Orput said. “Whether you are a prosecutor or police officer, or you are doctor or a realtor, no one is above the law.”
“The vast majority of taxpayers voluntarily comply with Minnesota tax laws,” said Department of Revenue Commissioner Cynthia Bauerly. “However, the department will work with our partners in law enforcement to help ensure that Minnesota’s tax laws are administered fairly and everyone pays the right amount, no more no less.”