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Friday, January 11th, 2008

Pro to be a Con

Written by Tom Somach in Poker News

A professional poker player who won almost $40,000 at last year’s World Series of Poker (WSOP) has been sentenced to five months in prison for evading taxes on his poker earnings.

John Doucet, 37, of Quaker Hill, Connecticut, USA, who finished in 349th place at the 2007 WSOP main event in Las Vegas and won $39,445, will spend the next five months in a Federal prison, followed by five more months of home confinement, as punishment for his felony conviction of filing a false tax return, media reports said.

Doucet filed late tax returns in 2002 and 2003, and did not report his gambling winnings in 2004, the reports said.

As part of his sentence, Doucet will have to pay an $80,000 fine, plus $37,000 in back taxes and a still-undetermined amount of penalties and interest on the owed taxes, the reports said.

Doucet’s attorney had argued for a suspended prison sentence, while the Federal government called for a sentence that would deter others from committing a similar offense, media reports said.

“When a tax cheat is caught, the message must be sent that such conduct cannot be excused,”=9D Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael J. Gustafson said.

“Otherwise, people on the fence will be emboldened to proceed in a similarly dishonest fashion,” he said.

The judge sentenced Doucet to the minimum jail time for his offense but imposed the maximum fine, media reports said.

(E-mail Tom Somach at [email protected])

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