Longtime owner of Johnson Sausage Shop headed to prison for failing to pay taxes
Christa Johnson, longtime owner of Johnson Sausage Shoppe in Rio was sentenced to federal prison for failing to pay the IRS $326,905 in unpaid taxes.
Timothy M. O’Shea, United States Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin, announced that Johnson, 57, of Cambria, Wisconsin, pleaded guilty to tax avoidance and was ordered to pay $326,905 in restitution to the IRS and serve 1 year in prison. She was also assessed a $25,000 fine.
According to court records, a federal grand jury sitting in Madison, Wisconsin returned a 17-count indictment against Johnson on June 16, 2022, charging her with seven counts of withholding income taxes and payroll taxes from her employees and not paying the taxes over to the IRS, nine counts of not paying the employer's share of employment taxes, and one count of obstruction of IRS collection efforts.
Johnson owned Johnson Sausage Shoppe, Inc. which operated as a meat processing plant, grocery store, and catering business in Rio, Wisconsin since 1996. As President of JSS, Johnson was responsible for all aspects of JSS's business operations.
The indictment alleged that Johnson failed to timely file quarterly employment tax returns for her business, and pay the employment taxes, starting with the first quarter of 2013 through the fourth quarter of 2016. During that time span, Johnson Sausage Shoppe paid $1,496,524.69 in wages and withheld from those wages FICA taxes and the employee's income taxes, which totaled $211,337.32, none of which was paid over to the IRS.
Johnson also failed to pay to the IRS the employer's matching share of FICA taxes, which totaled $111,137.86, and federal unemployment taxes which totaled $4,430.54, for the same time period.
During sentencing, Wisconsin by U.S. District Judge James D. Peterson told Johnson that her conduct was serious, not only in terms of a large tax amount due, but also because the crime took place over a long period of time and she engaged in a pattern of defiance with the IRS over a number of years.
Judge Peterson said a prison term was necessary to punish her and to provide a general deterrence message to other employers.