On August 3, 2017, President Donald Trump nominated two judges to the US Tax Court. The nominations were received in the US Senate (Senate) and referred to the Committee on Finance.

One of the nominees, Elizabeth Copeland, was previously nominated by President Barack Obama. Her previous nomination expired with the conclusion of the 114th Congress in January 2017. The Committee on Finance unanimously approved her previous nomination, but the nomination was never voted on by the full Senate. Copeland is a partner at the law firm Strasburger & Price, LLP. If confirmed, she will be assuming the position left vacant by the 2015 retirement of Judge James S. Halpern. Judge Halpern still performs judicial duties as a Senior Judge on recall.

The second nominee, Patrick Urda, is counsel to the deputy assistant attorney general in the US Department of Justice’s Tax Division. If confirmed, he will be assuming the position left vacant by the 2014 retirement of Judge Diane L. Kroupa. We previously covered the circumstances of Judge Kroupa’s retirement and related criminal proceedings.

We have previously blogged on the criminal tax proceedings related to former US Tax Court Judge Kroupa (see here and here). In October 2016, Judge Kroupa pleaded guilty to multiple tax criminal charges related to her tax returns and interactions with the Internal Revenue Service. Based on sentencing guidelines, the recommended sentence was between 30‒37 months. Judge Kroupa and the government submitted filings on the appropriate sentence, in which Judge Kroupa provided detailed reasons why she believed the court should impose a sentence of 20 months imprisonment. These filings can be found here and here. According to a report in today’s BNA Daily Tax Report, the court sentenced Judge Kroupa to 34 months in prison and ordered her to pay $457,000 in restitution, which is owed jointly with her former husband. She was also sentenced to three years of supervised release. Judge Kroupa’s former husband was sentenced to 24 months in prison and one year of supervised release.

Following up on our prior coverage (see here), former US Tax Court Judge Diane L. Kroupa pleaded guilty on Friday to multiple tax criminal charges related to her tax returns and interactions with the Internal Revenue Service. The government stipulated during the hearing that all charges except defrauding the United States would be dropped if Kroupa agreed to be sentenced on the fraud charge. Based on sentencing guidelines, the recommended sentence is between 30-37 months, although the judge may ultimately sentence Kroupa to more or less time. A copy of the Change of Plea Hearing can be found here.

On April 4, 2016, the US Attorney for the District of Minnesota announced a federal grand jury indictment charging former US Tax Court Judge Diane L. Kroupa and her husband with conspiring to evade the assessment of taxes. In a multi-count indictment, both were charged with conspiracy, tax evasion, making and subscribing false tax returns and obstruction of an IRS audit. According to the indictment and documents filed in court, Kroupa and her husband fraudulently claimed personal expenses as business deductions, failed to report income from a land sale, and falsely claimed financial insolvency. They also allegedly concealed certain documents from their taxpayer preparer and an IRS agent during an audit, and caused misleading documents to be delivered to the IRS. The indictment alleges that between 2004 and 2010, Kroupa and her husband purposely understated their taxable income by approximately $1 million and the amount of tax owed by at least $400,000.

Judge Kroupa was appointed to the Tax Court in June 2003, and retired from the court in June 2014. While she was on the bench, Kroupa was very active—the Tax Court’s website indicates that she authored 234 opinions, including 31 division or “T.C.” opinions, 180 “memorandum” opinions, and 23 “summary” opinions. Some of her more notable opinions were Canal Corp., Bank of NY Mellon, BMC Software, Samueli and Eaton.

Here is a link to a press release issued by the U.S. Department of Justice: Former United States Tax Court Judge and Husband Indicted for Conspiracy to Commit Tax Evasion and Obstruction of an IRS Audit.