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De Sousa pleads guilty in tax case

Baltimore Police Commissioner Darryl De Sousa

Baltimore Police Commissioner Darryl De Sousa

Former Baltimore Police Commissioner Darryl De Sousa pleaded guilty to three counts of wilful failure to file federal income tax returns in 2013, 2014 and 2015 on Tuesday.

As a part of his plea, De Sousa admitted to falsely claiming exemptions dating back to 1999, which “substantially reduced” the amount of taxes withheld from his salary.

The Police Department received a letter from the Internal Revenue Service in December 2015 alerting the department to the false exemptions after which more was withheld from De Sousa’s paycheck.

“When he filed his federal and state income taxes for calendar years 2008 through 2012, he falsely claimed deductions that he was not entitled to, including for unreimbursed employee expenses, when he had no such expenses, mortgage interest deductions and deductions for local property taxes, when he did not have a mortgage or own any real property, and business losses, when he did not operate any businesses,” the plea agreement states.

The combined state and federal taxes De Sousa owed as a result was $67,587.72, but he has made partial restitution of approximately $7,000, U.S. District Judge Catherine C. Blake noted.

De Sousa also admitted to failing to file his tax returns in 2011 and 2012 and not filing them until 2014 and claimed false deductions on those returns, including false charitable donations and reimbursed employee expenses.

De Sousa is scheduled to be sentenced March 29. Each count carries a maximum penalty of one year in prison and a $100,000 fine. De Sousa was charged in May and after being initially suspended with pay, he resigned the following week.

De Sousa issued a statement the day the charges were made public admitting he did not file returns in 2013, 2014 and 2015 but said he had taxes withheld from his paycheck in those years. He also said he has been working with a tax advisor to come into compliance, including filing his 2016 returns and seeking an extension for 2017.

A 30-year veteran of the Baltimore Police Department, De Sousa became interim commissioner in January after Mayor Catherine Pugh fired Kevin Davis.

Interim Commissioner Gary Tuggle has filled in since De Sousa’s resignation. Fort Worth (Texas) Police Chief Joel Fitzgerald was nominated last month to replace De Sousa permanently and is awaiting confirmation from the Baltimore City Council.

The case is United States of America v. Darryl De Sousa, 1:18-cr-00276.

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