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Staples man charged with multiple tax crimes

Each tax-related felony charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison, a $10,000 fine, or both.

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ST. PAUL —The Minnesota Department of Revenue announced that the Ramsey County Attorney’s Office recently charged Blaine Sterling Butler, of Staples, with four felony counts of failing to file income tax returns.

According to the complaint, Mr. Butler willfully failed to file his state income tax returns for tax years 2017 through 2020, despite earning enough income through his employers during those years to be required to file income tax returns in Minnesota, according to a Department of Revenue news release.
The complaint goes on to allege that Mr. Butler’s wife, Melony Butler, through her work as director of the nonprofit Eagle’s Healing Nest, withdrew funds from the nonprofit for her personal use and that those amounts should have been reported as taxable income on their jointly filed returns.

Despite receiving multiple letters from the department demanding they file the missing returns, the Butlers allegedly failed to do so until the investigation was nearly complete. However, the complaint states that those returns were based solely on Mr. Butler’s W-2 income and did not include the taxable income they received from Eagle’s Healing Nest. According to the complaint, Mr. Butler owes over $6,200 in income tax, penalties, and interest.

Each tax-related felony charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison, a $10,000 fine, or both. Defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Although most taxpayers comply with tax laws voluntarily, the department takes enforcement action against noncompliant taxpayers to ensure that tax laws are administered fairly.

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Many of the department’s criminal case referrals come from public tips. There is a 24-hour tip line for anyone who suspects that a person or business is violating Minnesota tax laws. Local callers may dial 651-297-5195 or call toll-free by dialing 1-800-657-3500. Tips can also be submitted to the department by email at tax.fraud@state.mn.us . Tipsters may choose to remain anonymous.

Our newsroom occasionally reports stories under a byline of "staff." Often, the "staff" byline is used when rewriting basic news briefs that originate from official sources, such as a city press release about a road closure, and which require little or no reporting. At times, this byline is used when a news story includes numerous authors or when the story is formed by aggregating previously reported news from various sources. If outside sources are used, it is noted within the story.
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