Man may serve 3 years in prison for obstructing IRS attempts to collect back taxes
An Upper St. Clair man who wreaked financial havoc on several companies pleaded guilty on Friday to a federal charge that carries a maximum sentence of three years in prison.
Michael Carlow, 61, was facing up to 22 years in prison on six counts of fraud and tax evasion, but the government agreed to drop those charges in return for his guilty plea to “corruptly endeavoring” to obstruct the Internal Revenue Service's attempt to collect more than $6.2 million he owes in back taxes, interest and penalties.
Carlow admitted that he used his longtime girlfriend, Elizabeth Jones, 52, of Upper St. Clair, to conceal his income and assets from the IRS by funneling them through a series of companies that he either gained control of or started.
Some of those companies have folded. Jones pleaded guilty to the conspiracy in August and awaits sentencing.
Carlow owes the money from a 1996 federal conviction on six counts of bank fraud and tax evasion connected to a $31 million check-kiting scheme that closed City Pride Bakery and damaged the finances of D.L. Clark Candy Co., Pittsburgh Brewing Co. and L.E. Smith Glass Co. in Mount Pleasant.
Other than answering questions from U.S. District Judge David Cercone, Carlow did not speak during the hearing and declined to comment later.
One of his attorneys, Martin Dietz, said three years “is a far cry from the threat of putting him in jail for the rest of his life.”
“I think it's pretty clear the government made a pretty big concession in the case,” Dietz said.
The whole tenor of the case changed when the U.S. Attorney's Office in Pittsburgh recused itself from the case after Carlow's lawyers filed a motion to get the case thrown out because Carlow had briefly consulted with one of the prosecutors when she was still in private practice.
The Justice Department's Tax Division in Washington took over the prosecution. The division's lawyers, Jeffrey McLellan and Kenneth Vert, declined to comment.
U.S. Attorney David Hickton also declined to comment.
Carlow, who remains free on $25,000 bond, is scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 4.
Brian Bowling is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-325-4301or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- More witness intimidation charges are filed against Plum teacher
- 80 percent of drivers found exceeding speed limit in Mt. Lebanon, Bethel Park
- South Side zoning clashes with parking: Workers hurt
- Wet weather puts Three Rivers Regatta events in jeopardy
- Duquesne man arrested again for Megan’s Law violations
- Newsmaker: Dr. J. Anthony Graves
- American Airlines manager arrested in Pittsburgh on sex crimes charges
- Run-down duplex that Dormont helped to rehab not on the market long
- Pittsburgh capital plans shift to repairs to police, fire, paramedic stations
- 5 teens injured in East Liberty crash while eluding police
- Bellevue painter devotes life to telling strangers about God’s love