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Feds: De Sousa was a "tax cheat," will spend 10 months in prison

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Posted at 9:27 AM, Mar 29, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-01 08:23:48-04

BALTIMORE — Former Baltimore City Police Commissioner Darryl De Sousa has been sentenced to 10 months in federal prison after federal prosecutors called him, "a tax cheat."

De Sousa pleaded guilty in December to three counts of failing to file individual tax returns in 2013, 2014, and 2015. According to his plea agreement, De Sousa also admitted to falsely claiming nine allowances on a past W-4 form and filing false tax deductions for a property and business he never owned. By doing this he substantially reduced the amount of taxes withheld from his salary each year. The government says De Sousa also claimed thousands of dollars in charitable donations which he never made.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Leo Wise also told the judge that claiming false deductions on taxes was a known method inside the Baltimore Police Department as was testified to by convicted gun trace task force detective Jemell Rayam in last year's corruption trial, also presided over by Judge Catherine Blake.

“As a law enforcement officer, Darryl De Sousa knew that he had a duty to file tax returns. His failure to file was a crime – not an oversight,” said U.S. Attorney Robert K. Hur. “Corrupt public employees rip off the taxpayers and undermine everyone’s faith in government.”

At his sentencing hearing Friday morning at the federal courthouse in Downtown Baltimore, De Sousa addressed the court saying, “I stand before you humble and ashamed about what I did." He said he made a terrible decision and has lost a great deal. “I own it," De Sousa said. "This will live with me for the rest of my life.”

Judge Catherine Blake said while it is a sad day for De Sousa, it is also a sad day for Baltimore. "The city deserves a police force it can trust," the judge said, adding that what De Sousa did further erodes that trust. Blake incarcerated De Sousa in the hopes it serves as an example.

RELATED: Prosecutors say Baltimore's ex-police commissioner was encouraged by officers to commit tax fraud

“This investigation confirms the principle that no one is above the law,” said Acting FBI Baltimore Special Agent in Charge Jennifer L. Moore. “The FBI will continue to work tirelessly to make sure those in a position of power uphold the law and are held to the highest standards.”

The judge called this a “significant crime.” After his 10 months in prison, De Sousa will face a year of supervised release and 100 hours of community service. He will not go to prison right away, but will voluntary surrender to whichever prison he is designated to serve his time.

De Sousa, who only served as Baltimore Police Commissioner from January of 2018 until the tax charges surfaced in May, owed the United States and the State of Maryland $67,587.72 dollars in taxes as restitution. De Sousa's attorneys told the court he had paid back that debt with his retirements funds earned from his 30 year career with the Baltimore Police Department.

In their pre-sentencing memo, De Sousa’s attorneys wrote that the loss of his career at its peak, the public dishonor, and the economic cost of losing it all would be enough for there client to avoid prison time.