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Former officer Derek Chauvin, wife charged with felony tax fraud

Chauvin, charged with murder in the death of George Floyd, is charged with nine counts of aiding and abetting the filing of false or fraudulent tax returns.
Credit: Ramsey County Sheriff's Office

STILLWATER, Minn. — Court documents filed in Washington County indicate that former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin and his ex-wife Kellie have been charged in Washington County with multiple counts of tax fraud. 

Chauvin, charged with second and third-degree murder and manslaughter in the death of George Floyd, is charged with nine counts of aiding and abetting the filing of false or fraudulent tax returns. His former wife is charged with the same number of counts. 

A criminal complaint issued in Washington County District Court details the charges, alleging that Minnesota Department of Revenue (MDOR) records indicate the Derek and Kellie Chauvin failed to file tax returns in 2016, 2017 and 2018. Records indicate the Chauvins filed a late return in 2014, an on-time tax return in 2015.

Minnesota law dictates that a state resident must file a return if the person spends at least 183 days in Minnesota during the year and the person or their spouse rent, own, maintain, or occupy an abode suitable for year round use and equipped with its own cooking and bathing facilities.

Individuals or married joint filers need to make more income than the minimum income threshold.

The filing minimums between 2014 and 2019 were as follows:

Year       Single    Married (both under 65)

  • 2014  $10,150  $20,300
  • 2015  $10,300  $20,600
  • 2016  $10,350  $20,700
  • 2017  $10,400  $20,800
  • 2018  $10,650  $21,300
  • 2019  $12,000  $24,400

Investigators say that the Chauvin's income was significantly over the threshold requirements and that they were Minnesota residents as they lived, worked, and had significant connections to the State of Minnesota. 

Prosecutors accuse Derek Chauvin of failing to report significant income from off-duty work, and Kellie Chauvin from her real estate and photography businesses. All told, prosecutors say the Chauvins under reported their Minnesota income by $464,000 from 2014 to 2019 and maintain they owe the State of Minnesota more than $21,000 in taxes. Throw in interest, late fees and fraud penalties, and the couple owes nearly $38,000. 

“When you fail to fulfill the basic obligation to file and pay taxes, you are taking money from the pockets of citizens of Minnesota," said Washington County Attorney Pete Orput in a written statement. "Our office has and will continue to file these charges when presented. Whether you are a prosecutor or police officer, or you are doctor or a realtor, no one is above the law.”

In the time covered by the investigation the Chauvins owned three different homes in Washington County at various times, and one in Windermere, Florida. Investigators learned that in 2018 the couple bought a BMW sedan in Minnetonka with a price tag of just over $100,000, but registered it in Florida and paid $4,664 in sales tax. Documents show the Chauvins had the car serviced 11 times in Minnesota, and not a single time in Florida. Kelli Chauvin reportedly told investigators that they changed their residency to Florida as it was cheaper to register a car. They never paid sales tax in Minnesota where the car was actually purchased, which would have amounted to $5,053. 

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