A University of Minnesota economics professor was charged Friday with tax evasion after allegedly not paying state income taxes for nearly 12 years.
Beth Elaine Allen was charged with 12 felony and gross misdemeanor counts and owes the state an estimated $59,050, according to charges filed Friday.
Allen allegedly failed to pay income taxes since at least 2003, but the statute of limitations for tax crimes limit the charges for the years 2010 to 2015.
Allen earned a doctorate at the University of California, Berkeley and earns $160,000 a year as a University professor.
According to the charges, the Minnesota Department of Revenue’s investigation into Allen showed that she filed a 1998 Minnesota Individual Income Tax return in 2002 and did not include a full payment.
“The filing demonstrates that [Allen] knew for her obligation to file a Minnesota Individual Tax return,” according to the criminal complaint.
Between May 2011 and December 2015, the state sent more than 40 letters to Allen urging her to file her tax returns and pay any taxes due, according to the charges. All the letters were sent to Allen’s office at the University and she did not respond to any.
Credit card reports show that Allen spent thousands of dollars on travel, convenience stores, liquors stores, wineries and other retailers, according to court documents.
Law enforcement officials seized 19 letters from the MDOR and more than 60 letters from the IRS and the Philadelphia Department of Revenue Service after a search warrant seizure of Allen’s car, University office and a hotel room she was staying in, court documents show.
Allen allegedly told investigators she was behind on her tax returns and that she did not receive any of the letters sent to her.
Allen’s first court hearing is set for May 12. She could not be reached for comment.
Tom Brever, one of Allen's attorneys, said Allen filed and paid the income tax returns for 2010 to 2015 late, but did so before the charges were filed.
Brever said Allen is being charged because she is a noted University-level economics professor who filed her taxes late and is being used by the state to "send a message of deterrence" to urge others to file their taxes on a timely manner.