03 Mar Playing Outside the Lines: Lawrence Taylor Tackled by the IRS
Standing at 6’3” and weighing 237lb, Lawrence Taylor was the Round 1 Pick 2 of the 1981 NFL Draft and there began his professional career as a linebacker with the New York Giants. Before he was drafted, the GM of the Giants George Young said, “Taylor is the best college linebacker I’ve ever seen.” Over the next decade, Taylor would win the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year award and NFL Most Valuable Player. During his 13 seasons as a Giants linebacker, he led his team to win the Super Bowl twice.
However, Taylor’s career was also filled with controversy, including abusing illicit drugs like cocaine and a reckless, hard-partying lifestyle. After he’d retired, the problems didn’t stop as he was arrested for several crimes, including leaving the scene of a car accident and sex with a minor. But it was when he launched his company All-Pro Products that his troubles with money began. Beyond losing hundreds of thousands of dollars when he was defrauded, and stocks became useless, he later became involved with a business partner whose own money-related crimes would expose Taylor’s tax evasion.
From Income Tax Evasion to State Witness
In June 1997, Taylor pleaded guilty to failure to report his 1990 federal income tax return accurately. That year, he earned $1.39 million. Federal investigators probed into Alfred Porro Jr., Taylor’s former business partner and one-time lawyer who had handwritten a list of cash payments made to the New York Giants star. None of the cash payments of the list were reported on Taylor’s tax return.
However, Taylor would turn into a state witness to help the government convict Porro and his wife for tax evasion, embezzlement, money laundering, and bank fraud. Taylor appeared as a witness for the prosecution during the nine weeks of testimony and just three days after being elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Taylor’s testimony included a statement that his signature was falsified on a financial guarantee submitted to the bank.
Taylor cooperated with the hopes to avoid prison time for his tax evasion conviction. His sentencing came after the Porros. As part of a plea bargain for testifying against Porro in the bank fraud scheme, Taylor was sentenced to five years of probation, three months of house arrest, and 500 hours of community service.
Taylor would work on various entertainment and sports ventures to pay his tax debts. He was a football analyst on TNT Sunday Night Football and appeared as a wrestler on WWF. Taylor also pursued acting and appeared on TV, in movies, and in video games. He would be ordered to undergo random drug testing and disclose his finances if asked by probation officials. The court also ordered Taylor to wear an electronic monitoring device. Taylor was reportedly displeased with the house arrest sentencing thinking he would not be allowed to leave his home at any time. However, he was allowed to leave for work and other purposes to continue paying off his tax debt.
If you want to read more about celebrity tax evasion stories or need advice from a tax resolution specialist, contact Golden Tax Relief today!