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Theater owner gets year in prison for tax evasion

AP Wire • Jul 21, 2015 at 12:23 PM

Elaine Dawson, 69, of Bellaire pleaded guilty to tax evasion in October 2012 and was sentenced Monday. U.S. District Judge Janet Neff also ordered one year of supervised release.

Court records say Dawson owned five cinemas in the northern Lower Peninsula. In her plea agreement, she admitted reporting only a portion of her income from ticket sales, popcorn, soda and gift cards, from 2004 through 2010. She skimmed cash from the unreported sales for personal use, U.S. Attorney Patrick Miles Jr. said.

The theaters are the Bellaire Theater in Bellaire, Petoskey Cinema in Petoskey, Gaylord Cinema in Gaylord, Courtyard Cinemas in Mackinaw City and Kingston Cinema in Cheboygan.

"Especially in challenging times, everyone's full contribution counts," Miles said. "Hiding one's wealth while allowing other hard-working, honest citizens to carry the burden isn't fair and won't be tolerated."

Defense attorney Larry Willey said Dawson had already complied with the court's order to reimburse the IRS.

"She's seeking to do everything she can to make amends for what happened," Willey said.

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