Authorities: Realtor owes $1.6M in taxes
A high-profile Southwest Florida Realtor stood before a judge Wednesday afternoon accused of illegally avoiding paying taxes.
Managing assistant U.S. Attorney Doug Molloy said Tom Daugherty is facing tax evasion charges.
Daugherty, 53, of Fort Myers, is charged with evading $1.6 million in taxes from 1998-2005. The indictment claims he concealed his income by making false statements to the Internal Revenue Service and by hiding money and property under corporate names and those of other individuals.
The indictment claims Daugherty converted commission payments to cashiers checks and cash, depositing cash into his personal accounts. Between November 2002 and April 2008, he bought more than 200 cashiers checks worth more than $2.1 million.
During those years, Molloy said, Daugherty paid nothing in taxes.
“The only thing this is about is his wilfully not paying income taxes,” said Molloy.
He said defrauding the IRS does not merely take money from the “tax man.”
“Sometimes people make that mistake,” Molloy said. “This is money for schools, for roads, the sheriff’s office, hospitals. You’re not cheating the IRS.”
Daugherty was represented in court by attorney Wilbur Smith. Neither could not be reached for comment.
Daugherty was formerly a partner in his own commercial real estate firm. He is now with C.B. Richard Ellis in Fort Myers. He started there in January.
Stan Stouder, a manager with the firm, said Daugherty remains employed there as an independent contractor. He said the firm had “a cursory knowledge” of the investigation when Daugherty was hired.
“As the announcement says, a defendant is presumed innocent until and unless he’s proven guilty,” Stouder said.
Daugherty’s future with the firm will be determined as the facts come out, he said.
Molloy said the indictment coming April 15 — the deadline for taxpayers to file taxes — is no coincidence.
“One thing hopefully this says is if you don’t do business on the up in Southwest Florida you’re going to jail,” he said.
Daugherty faces a maximum of five years in federal prison if convicted.
Charlie Whitehead is a staff writer for the Naples Daily News.