By Andy Monnserud | Courthouse News
STILLWATER, Minn. (CN) — The former Minneapolis police officer accused of murdering George Floyd is in more legal trouble after being charged Wednesday with felony tax fraud.
Prosecutors filed nine counts of aiding and abetting tax fraud against Derek Chauvin Wednesday morning in Washington County District Court. His wife, Kellie Chauvin, faces the same charges.
According to the criminal complaint, the couple underreported their income in 2014, 2015 and 2019 and did not file Minnesota income taxes at all from 2016 through 2018. They also allegedly used Florida driver’s licenses to avoid paying Minnesota sales tax and registration fees for a car.
The Chauvins repeatedly failed to report income from their work as realtors and a handful of side gigs, the complaint states, including the former officer’s private security work and his wife’s photography business. That allegedly underreported income totaled over $100,000 each, even before estimating the under-the-table pay Derek Chauvin received from some of his security shifts.
Combined with the unpaid income taxes, the couple underreported over $460,000 in income, prosecutors claim. They owe $21,853 in taxes plus interest, late filing and fraud penalties, bringing the total amounted owed to $37,868, according to the complaint.
The Chauvins lived in Washington County prior to Derek Chauvin’s arrest for Floyd’s May 25 killing, and he is being held there at the Oak Park Heights Correctional Facility while he awaits trial. The county includes the eastern suburbs of Minnesota’s capital of St. Paul and stretches to the state’s eastern border with Wisconsin.
The couple also owns a townhome in Windermere, Florida, a suburb of Orlando. Orange County elections supervisor Bill Cowles has confirmed that Derek Chauvin voted there in 2016 and 2018. Kellie Chauvin told investigators that she lived in Florida in December and January, according to the complaint, and in Minnesota for the rest of the year. She said her husband was often unable to join her in Florida because of his work schedule.
She also said they had changed their residency because it made registration cheaper for a $100,000 2018 BMW they purchased in January of that year.
Kellie Chauvin, also known as Kellie Xiong, filed for divorce shortly after her husband’s May 29 arrest. He was filmed kneeling on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes as Floyd gasped for breath and pleaded for his life. A judge granted Xiong’s request to seal their divorce file on Wednesday, citing public harassment of the couple, according to a Minneapolis Star Tribune report.
No attorney is listed for either Chauvin in the tax case, and Eric Nelson, who is representing Chauvin in the murder case, told the Star Tribune that he knew nothing about the tax allegations.
“When you fail to fulfill the basic obligation to file and pay taxes, you are taking money from the pockets of citizens of Minnesota. Our office has and will continue to file these charges when presented,” Washington County Prosecutor Pete Orput said in a statement. “Whether you are a prosecutor or police officer, or you are [a] doctor or a realtor, no one is above the law.”
Of the four fired officers charged in connection with Floyd’s death, Chauvin is the only one facing murder and manslaughter charges and the only one still in custody. Former officers Tou Thao, Thomas Lane and J. Alexander Kueng have all been released on bail and face charges of aiding and abetting second-degree murder and manslaughter.