The co-owner of a Cottage Grove boat dealership has been convicted on three counts of defrauding the Minnesota Department of Revenue (MDOR).
Jeffrey McKenzie, of 61 Marine and Sports Inc. pleaded guilty to the charges Sept. 3 in Washington County District court.
The conviction stems from summer 2017, when prosecutors alleged McKenzie filed three false monthly tax returns. As the corporate officer for Marine 61, he was responsible for the company's tax and financial matters, according to to the complaint.
An investigation by the MDOR began in 2018 after receiving information that the business was not reporting all of the sales tax it collected, according to the criminal complaint. Authorities obtained search warrants and seized financial documents from the company, which also sells snowmobiles and ATVs.
The investigation concluded that McKenzie on three occasions "altered financial entries on post-it notes so subordinates would convey to the bookkeeper in charge of submitting tax turn information to the State false and reduced sales tax amounts that were due," according to a Washington County Attorney's Office press release.
The complaint states that it was McKenzie’s responsibility to provide the company’s sales tax information to their accountant, and claims that he knowingly underreported taxable sales for the business.
Tax-related felonies carry a maximum of five years in prison, a $10,000 fine or both, for each charge, an MDOR statement said.
Sentencing is set for Dec. 2. McKenzie was released on his own recognizance on the condition he remain law-abiding, assist in preparation of a pre-sentence investigation and a restitution investigation.