SCOTTSDALE (3 On Your Side) -- A Scottsdale businessman who owes the IRS nearly three quarters of a million dollars and skipped town to avoid prison learned his fate Wednesday.
Kevin Wynn was sentenced to 46 months in prison, federal officials said. He was facing up to 96 months in prison, according to the Department of Justice.
"Mr. Wynn was a successful businessman and he fought the IRS for years," said Special Agent Brian Watson, of IRS Criminal Investigation. "We’re talking over 20 years of battling the IRS about what he owed."
In December 2019, Wynn was convicted of several charges including tax evasion. According to court records, he owes more than $765,000 in past due taxes, penalties and interest.
"About four weeks prior to sentencing, [Wynn] cut off his ankle monitor, pulled out $1.5 million from his bank account and fled to Mexico," Watson said.
It took 53 days, but investigators tracked down Wynn, who was using a fake identification. In court documents, Wynn's attorney, Jason Silver, argued "Mr. Wynn, fearful that he would be incarcerated and then catch the COVID-19 virus and possibly die, fled the United States to Mexico in order to reduce his risk of exposure."
"We have this great picture of him being confronted on the street by some of the Mexican authorities who walked up to him to identify him and determine it in fact was Mr. Wynn walking his dog in a very wealthy neighborhood in Mexico," Watson said.
Most tax cases don’t end up like this. Most are resolved civilly, according to Watson. But it is a warning to people who don’t pay what they owe.
"Unfortunately, there will always be people who try to cheat on their taxes," Watson said.
It's called the tax gap, which is the amount of money owed versus the amount of money that’s paid on time. According to the most recent estimate from the IRS, the annual tax gap is about $441 billion.
"I equate it to going out to dinner with a group of five or six people, and everyone puts money in except the one person who leaves early and doesn’t pay," Watson said. "It leaves everyone else to pick up the difference."
Wynn's attorney declined to comment for this report.