Missouri tax attorney pleads guilty to tax and labor violations

Guilty Plea

 A Missouri attorney has pleaded guilty in federal court to tax and labor violations.

Meagan M. Howe, also known as Meagan M. Hasty, 35, of Lebanon, pleaded guilty before U.S. Chief Magistrate Judge David P. Rush on Thursday, Aug. 19, to one count of failure to pay employment tax and one count of making a false representation related to an employee benefit plan.

Howe owns and operates Conquer the Divide, LLC. She is also the past owner and operator of Garner and Howe Law Firm; Missouri Law Firm, LLC; and Just Ask Howe Tax Advocacy Services, LLC.

Howe admitted that she withheld a total of $15,019 in federal taxes from her employees’ paychecks at Garner and Howe Law Firm and Missouri Law Firm, LLC in 2019, but failed to turn them over to the IRS. Howe further admitted that she failed to pay an additional $10,285 in employment taxes for the businesses in 2019.

Howe also admitted that she falsely prepared and submitted 2018 tax returns for herself and her husband. By filing separate returns that each claimed “Head of Household” status, she was able to fraudulently receive $3,775 earned income tax credits.

Howe also admitted that she failed to transmit $3,111 in contributions to an employee pension plan. Howe then falsely reported there was not a failure to transmit contributions to her employee pension plan.

Under the terms of today’s plea agreement, Howe must pay restitution to the IRS, the Missouri Department of Revenue, and individual victims.

Under federal statutes, Howe is subject to a sentence of up to 10 years in federal prison without parole. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Casey Clark. It was investigated by IRS-Criminal Investigation, the Department of Labor – Employee Benefits Security Administration, and the Missouri Department of Revenue.