A Roman Catholic priest pleaded guilty to four counts of tax evasion, according to Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Caroline D. Ciraolo of the Justice Department’s Tax Division.
Rev. Hien Minh Nguyen, 56, admitted that for four years, he stole parishioners’ donations to the Catholic Diocese of San Jose, California. He also willfully evaded paying income taxes on the money he misappropriated each year from 2008 through 2011. According to a DOJ statement today, Nguyen deposited the money into his personal bank account, did not disclose this income to his return preparer nor records of the donations he stole, and filed false income tax returns which did not report this money.
Father Nguyen also pleaded not guilty to bank fraud charges, which are still pending.
“Father Nguyen stole money from his parishioners and filed false returns with the IRS to evade his income tax obligations,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Ciraolo. “The department remains committed to holding all criminal tax offenders accountable for their illegal conduct, regardless of their profession. No one is above the law.”
Rev. Nguyen faces a statutory maximum sentence of five years in prison and monetary penalties for each tax evasion conviction. He will appear on August 23 on bank fraud charges. Nguyen has not pleaded guilty to the bank fraud charges and remains presumed innocent of those charges.