A Jersey County resident was sentenced to federal prison Friday, Dec. 19, for tax evasion and possession of a firearm by a user of controlled substances, U.S. Attorney Stephen R. Wigginton said in a press release Monday.
David Ray, 55, of Fieldon, was sentenced to 37 months in federal prison, a $7,500 fine, $1,272,904 in restitution, a $200 special assessment and three years of supervised release. Ray also forfeited a gun collection valued between $75,000 to $100,000.
“In stealing from all of us by failing to pay his fair share of taxes, Ray not only ended up forfeiting his gun collection, but he forfeited his privilege to live in his mansion for the much harsher living conditions of federal prison,” Wigginton said.
Ray waived his right to face a grand jury indictment and pleaded guilty to charges brought directly by the U.S. Attorney’s Office on July 23, 2013. Court documents established that Ray committed tax evasion by using his businesses to pay personal expenses, by vesting ownership of personal assets in the name of his businesses, and by filing false tax returns with the IRS or refusing to file a U.S. individual tax return. From tax years 2005 to 2010, Ray concealed income from the IRS for the purpose of limiting his tax liability, resulting in him avoiding $1,272,904 in federal income taxes that he otherwise would have been required to pay. Ray agreed to make full restitution to the IRS as a condition of his guilty plea.
Ray was also convicted for possessing firearms while being a cocaine user. Evidence presented at the plea hearing established that federal agents seized 96 firearms and more than 2,500 rounds of ammunition from Ray’s home when it was searched on Feb. 13, 2012. In addition, agents also seized 110 grams of cocaine from Ray’s home. Ray admitted possessing the firearms as a hunter and gun collector. But he also acknowledged a serious cocaine habit, admitting that he purchased and used 3-5 ounces of cocaine every 2-3 weeks prior to his home being raided. Under federal law, drug users are categorically prohibited from possessing firearms.
Ray was ordered to remain in custody of the U.S. Marshal pending his transfer to federal prison.
The investigation was conducted by agents from the Internal Revenue Service/Criminal Investigations, the Jersey County Sheriff’s Department, the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven D. Weinhoeft.