GREEN BAY - After being convicted of three counts tax evasion back in August, Diane Baugh of Appleton turned herself in to the federal prison in Lexington, Kentucky, Wednesday morning to begin her 15-month sentence.
Her case involves owing the IRS more than $86,000 on money she made selling scrapbook items on eBay over several years.
"My only crime is I didn't pay taxes on the money that's what I didn't do and I'm sorry for it and I want to make restitution," said Baugh.
Baugh says she was surprised to learn the items she bought and re-sold were actually stolen from Hobby Lobby by a woman in Indiana. Baugh was not charged in the thefts, but ordered to help repay the store more than $2-million.
"I think the judge made a finding she did know the items were stolen," explained U.S. Attorney Bill Roach.
The reason Baugh did not have to report to prison for almost six months is because of her work with special needs children in a Kimberly foster home. Her motions to delay prison were granted so she could help find a suitable replacement.
Then, two weeks ago, Baugh requested to stay on the job under house arrest allowing her to start paying back the money she owes.
The judge rejected the idea. And so I asked viewers to let us know what you think. And a lot of you commented online.
Timm wrote... "She 'forgot' to report $300,000? And I am supposed to feel sorry for her?"
Patrick said... "If you can't to the time. Don't do the crime. No pitty, sorry."
Other were not so polite. Plonske stating... "Hope she rots in jail. Criminal."
But many agreed with Baugh, and not only her push for house arrest. They also criticized the justice system.
Breanna wrote... "Going to prison for tax evasion is a waste of money and takes up room in a cell that a REAL criminal could use. Something like house arrest is fine."
Heidi said... "This whole thing makes me sick to my stomach! Placing her in Federal Prison REALLY..."
Her work with special needs children also generated support.
Sandie raised the question... "How is it helping anyone by locking her up when she could be continuing to serve the children she cares for while working toward paying that restitution?"
The government acknowledges the full restitution will probably never be collected. And as for Baugh's 15 month sentence, it was actually considerably less than the government's 51 month minimum recommendation...or even the pre-sentence report guideline of 18 to 24 months.
And still viewers like Kelly wrote... "The sentence was crazy, does not fit the crime."
But John added... "the law is the law you play you pay."
Baugh does say she is reviewing her appeal options. And with good behavior, her stay behind bars could be reduced by about two months.
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