Whitten pleads guilty to tax evasion

A former chief of staff to Newark Councilman Darrin Sharif admitted today that he evaded income taxes by claiming scores of phony exemptions and failing to file an individual income tax return, said U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman.  

Richard Allen Whitten pleaded guilty to one count of an Information charging him with tax evasion for his fraudulent W-4 form and subsequent failure to file a federal tax return. 

Himself an unsuccessful 2010 candidate for the central ward council seat, the 50-year old Whitten entered his plea before U.S. District Judge Stanley R. Chesler in Newark federal court.

According to the U.S. Attorney, In 2006, Whitten filed a W-4 form his employer, the City of Newark, falsely claiming 99 exemptions from federal income tax withholding. Whitten admitted he filed this fraudulent for so that no federal income tax would be withheld from his paycheck. Whitten kept this form on file with the city through April 2008.

Whitten admitted he failed to pay any federal income tax for the calendar year 2006. He further admitted that, in 2007, he received $55,991 in taxable income from the City of Newark and failed to pay more than $10,000 in federal income tax that was due.

In May 2008, Whitten filed a second fraudulent W-4 form with the City of Newark, again falsely claiming 99 exemptions from withholding in order to prevent the assessment of federal income taxes. Whitten, who from August 2008 through February 2009 was employed as a senior management assistant in the Office of the Business Administrator, admitted that, in 2008 and 2009, he failed to pay any federal income tax for those calendar years.

The count to which Whitten pleaded guilty carries a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000. He is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Chesler on March 14, 2012.

Whitten pleads guilty to tax evasion