FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — The former general manager of several Northwest Arkansas car dealerships pleaded guilty to evading over $263,000 in federal taxes.
Judge Timothy L. Brooks presided over the January 20 plea hearing in the Western District of Arkansas federal court in Fayetteville. Jonathan M. Wichman, 35, of Cave Springs, waived an official indictment as part of the agreement.
According to court documents and statements, Wichman worked mainly as a general manager at local car dealerships from 2014 through 2020. In 2018, he accessed his company’s online payroll system and changed his status so that no taxes were taken from his wages in 2019-2020.
According to court documents, he earned $856,882 over that period, including $360,739 from the dealership where he altered his federal tax withholdings. He did not file tax returns in either of those years. He also failed to file in a timely manner from 2014-2018.
In May 2018, the IRS filed substitutes for returns for Wichman for tax years 2014 and 2016 and assessed additional taxes, which he also failed to pay. He said that he prepared his taxes using commercial software and he told investigators that he knew he owed past taxes.
He claimed that he did not file because he didn’t have the money to pay his taxes. However, the investigation revealed that Wichman made cash transactions at various casinos and banks totaling more than $1,079,000 from 2018-2021.
According to court documents, he also spent more than $513,000 on luxury vehicles, a travel trailer, and a Florida vacation from 2014-2022. In total, he failed to pay $263,615 in income taxes to the IRS and an additional amount in Arkansas state taxes.
Wichman’s restitution includes payment of penalties and interest to both the U.S. Treasury and the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration. He will be sentenced at a later date and faces a maximum penalty of up to five years in prison in addition to a period of supervised release and additional monetary penalties.