United States v. Tilford, No. 15-10352 (5th Cir. 2016)Annotate this Case
Defendant pled guilty to failing to file a tax return in 2006 and was sentenced to twelve months’ imprisonment, one year supervised release, and restitution in the amount of $453,547.00. The district court entered an order directing defendant's ex-wife's employer to withhold the portion of her earnings that accrued prior to the date of the divorce, including paid time off and contributions to her 401(k) and 403(b) retirement plans. The district court subsequently denied the ex-wife's motion to quash the writs of garnishment, as well as a motion to alter or amend the judgment. The court agreed with the district court that the ex-wife did not qualify for relief under I.R.C. 66(c), the "Innocent Spouse" provision, because this provision is only available as an affirmative defense to the government’s efforts to assess a tax deficiency, not when the government is enforcing a criminal judgment. Further, the ex-wife was aware that her husband earned an income as an insurance broker, disqualifying her under the knowledge provision of section 66(c)(3). The court affirmed the judgment.