The owner of an area DJ and events company has been sentenced to prison for evading almost $90,000 in taxes by not reporting his business income.
Steven M. Rader, 37, of Muskego will do five months in a federal facility and must pay more than $195,000 in restitution, which includes penalties and interest on unpaid taxes.
Though he had no prior criminal record, federal sentencing guidelines suggest 10 to 16 months in prison. Rader’s attorney argued probation was most appropriate in his circumstance, so he could continue operating his business and pay the restitution.
U.S. District Judge J.P. Stadtmueller decided on five months of incarceration, saying it was necessary to promote respect for the law.
“The honest women and men who pay their taxes dutifully deserve to know that tax cheats face time in federal prison. We are committed to defending the integrity of our government by prosecuting tax crimes aggressively,” U.S. Attorney Matthew Krueger said in a news release.
According to court records, from 2000 to 2017 Rader worked part-time in the theater departments at Sussex Hamilton, Greendale and Whitnall high schools.
He reported that income — $9,000 a year in the middle stretch of those years and collected tax refunds of more than $2,000 for 2012, 2013 and 2014.
But he failed to report income he made from the business he started in 2012, Willie Fun Entertainment, which rents party equipment for proms, weddings and corporate meetings.
When he learned his 2013 returns were being audited, Rader filed amended returns for all three years and included income from his business but only what he was paid via PayPal — $223,466 over the three years. He told an IRS agent in 2015 it was the only form of payment he accepted, which wasn’t true.
“Rader was caught in a trap of his own making and made the worst possible decision when confronted with the audit,” his attorney, Patrick Knight, wrote in a sentencing memorandum.
“He feared the consequences of admitting he understated his income. In reality, all he then faced was a modest tax obligation and a financial penalty. By foolishly continuing the misrepresentation, he subjected himself to the far greater consequences of this prosecution.”
Rader agreed to plead guilty when he was charged in February, and entered his plea in April.