A Pinehurst couple is accused of failing to pay the Internal Revenue Service about $580,000 in taxes withheld from workers at an orthopedic practice.
James and Susan Rice were indicted by a federal grand jury in Greensboro on Tuesday for a "variety of tax offenses" involving Sandhills Orthopaedic and Spine Clinic, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. James Rice is an orthopedic surgeon who owned the business, the department said, while his wife, the owner of a local truffle farm, handled “administrative operations” for the clinic.
Employees of the practice allegedly had federal income taxes, Social Security contributions and Medicare payments withheld from their paychecks from 2007 to 2014, but the money never made it to the IRS.
Citing court filings, The News & Observer of Raleigh reported that the Rices’ “hid the funds from the federal government by moving it into bank accounts belonging to their other businesses.” Prosecutors allege that the couple spent some of the fraudulent withholdings on boarding for their dog, country club memberships and visits to Susan Rice’s “spiritual advisor,” The News & Observer reported.
The U.S. Department of Justice said the couple is also accused of not filing individual income tax returns from 2014 to 2016. James Rice faces additional charges for failing to file corporate tax returns for "an entity over which he was president" from 2014 to 2017, according to a news release.
If convicted, the Rices could both be sentenced to years behind bars and fined $250,000 for each "conspiracy, tax evasion and employment tax count," the release said.