Criminal Justice

Lawyer acknowledges tax conviction but not guilt, gets 51-month term

Disbarred lawyer John Threadgill of Knoxville, Tenn., conceded on Monday that a federal jury had found him guilty of tax evasion last year, but he maintained he was not actually guilty.

Threadgill, 70, said he was merely the victim of a bad investment and an inability to repay a debt to the Internal Revenue Service, the Knoxville News Sentinel reports. His protests failed to persuade U.S. District Judge Thomas Phillips, who sentenced Threadgill to 51 months in prison in the tax case and ordered him to repay the Internal Revenue Service more than $3 million in taxes and penalties, the story says.

Threadgill’s troubles began in 2009 when he was accused of billing clients for work that wasn’t done and using law firm’s accounts to pay personal expenses. Prosecutors had claimed he used the money to fund a lavish lifestyle. He was convicted in the federal tax evasion trial, and he pleaded guilty in state court to two counts of felony theft stemming from the client theft allegations.

Threadgill told the judge Monday that he pleaded guilty in the state case to receive a lighter sentence, and it was not an admission of guilt.

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