Independence, Mo., lawyer tied to utility jobs that drew FBI scrutiny indicted for tax evasion

An lawyer and former elected official in Independence was indicted Tuesday by a federal grand jury on felonies connected to tax evasion.

John C. Carnes, 67, was charged with one particular count of tax evasion, one particular count of corruptly endeavoring to obstruct the IRS and 7 counts of failure to pay taxes. He appeared in federal court in Kansas Town Wednesday and was launched on bond.

Carnes is a previous member of the Jackson County Legislature and Independence City Council who served two yrs in prison after currently being convicted in 1989 of bank fraud and bribing an additional council member. His regulation license was reinstated in 2006.

A lot more not too long ago, Carnes was included in two Independence utility initiatives that have faced many years of FBI scrutiny — the city’s conclusion to buy the former Rockwood Golfing System to develop a photo voltaic farm and the deal to demolish the metropolis-owned electric power plant in Missouri City.

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According to the indictment, Carnes allegedly averted paying out taxes involving 2012 and 2018 and tried to hide his tax legal responsibility by shifting money into lawyer believe in accounts, which are meant to be for money that are in a lawyer’s possession in connection with representing a client. He allegedly owes almost $345,000 in back again taxes

Federal prosecutors say Carnes deposited $232,000 into legal professional believe in accounts that came from expenses for companies associated to the sale of the Rockwood Golfing Course and the demolition of the Missouri Metropolis Power Plant.

The legal professional have faith in accounts were used, the indictment alleges, to stop the IRS from gathering dollars Carnes owed on profits taxes.

Carnes is also alleged to have withdrawn hard cash from lawyer believe in accounts to fund his personalized and business enterprise charges, which include at Kansas Metropolis-area casinos. He also been given money from clients that he did not deposit into his bank accounts.

In an interview Wednesday with the Kansas City Star, Carnes mentioned he’s often represented his purchasers “inside of ethical boundaries.”

Utility contracts

In 2019, the FBI began questioning area officials in Independence about a pair of utility contracts issued by the metropolis council in 2017.

One contract known as for the metropolis to pay back a St. Louis business $9.75 million to tear down a ability plant that Independence Power and Light was no extended applying in Missouri Town.

The bid was much more than twice that of the other bidder, and the operator of the enterprise that won it had longstanding ties to the lobbyist for Independence Ability & Light, former Missouri Property Speaker Steve Tilley.

The other contract known as for the town to fork out virtually $1 million to invest in the former Rockwood Golf Club in buy to construct a photo voltaic farm in a joint venture with Gardner Money, a Springfield personal fairness organization.

Gardner Capital is also a Tilley shopper, and just days in advance of the vote to acquire the property political motion committees related to Tilley and funded Gardner built four $2,500 donations to Independence Mayor Eileen Weir.

She vehemently denied the donations were linked to her vote to endorse the task.

Tilley would later on provide as the lobbyist for Titan Fish, a true estate business that offered the golfing study course to the city for close to two times what it experienced paid out for it just months ahead of. The FBI interviewed Titan Fish’s operator in the summer season of 2021 about the utility contracts and medical cannabis licensing.

According to the Missouri Ethics Commission, as of Sept. 1 Tilley’s lobbying company is no for a longer time registered to lobby on behalf of Independence Energy & Mild.

Weir briefly ran for reelection previously this year but dropped out of the race immediately after she barely highly developed to the normal election. She was replaced by former condition Rep. Rory Rowland.

Independence gained a pair of grand jury subpoenas in early 2020 looking for information of nonpublic meetings of the Independence Metropolis Council receipts submitted by four users of the Independence Metropolis Council for reimbursement.

Just one of the meetings in dilemma was with Carnes.

The head of Missouri’s clinical marijuana system testified underneath oath in late 2020 that a grand jury subpoena his agency been given was probable related to an FBI investigation in Independence.

There have been no indictments with regards to both agreement.

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