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Eye On Boise

Idaho landscape artist pleads guilty to tax charges, could face prison

Artist John Horejs, a Twin Falls, Idaho native whose wildflower paintings and western landscapes hang in the collections of former Gov. Dirk Kempthorne, billionaire J.R. Simplot, Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, Las Vegas developer Steve Wynn and others, pleaded guilty today to federal tax charges, along with his wife Elaine. Both admitted to “obstructing or impeding the due administration of the internal revenue laws,” evading more than $100,000 in federal income taxes. A six-count federal indictment originally had charged them with both that offense and failure to file income tax returns from 1998 to 2002.

According to court documents, the couple filed false trust documents, falsely claimed they weren’t U.S. citizens, and falsely claimed paintings that the IRS seized through a tax lien were owned by a trust.

A press release from the U.S. Attorney for Idaho says as part of their guilty pleas, the Horejs “agreed to fully cooperate with the IRS in the determination and collection of their outstanding federal income tax liability, to file all past and future income tax returns as required by law, and to cease all protest and arguments concerning the validity of the Internal Revenue Code.”

Horejs started painting more than 30 years ago, and works exclusively in oils. His paintings of gardens, wildflowers and landscapes are known for vibrant color and unusual perspectives, which he creates from mixes of just seven colors and white. Horejs maintains studios in Arizona and Idaho. He and Elaine, married since 1973, have nine children and several grandchildren.

Obstructing or impeding the due administration of the internal revenue laws is a felony. The maximum penalty is three years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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