Savage man charged with multiple tax crimes

Date of Release

ST. PAUL, Minn. – The Minnesota Department of Revenue announced that the Scott County Attorney’s Office recently charged Robert Michael Utne, of Savage, with 17 tax-related felonies. He is charged with:

  • Four felony counts of filing false sales and use tax returns
  • Two felony counts of failing to file or pay sales and use tax returns
  • Six felony counts of failing to pay or collect and remit sales and use tax
  • Two felony counts of failing to file or pay individual income tax returns
  • Three felony counts of failing to file or pay withholding tax returns

According to the complaint, Mr. Utne falsely filed sales and use tax returns, failed to file sales and use tax returns, and failed to remit sales and use tax for his taxidermy business, Wild Image in Motion, for multiple periods between 2015 and 2021. The complaint also alleges that Mr. Utne failed to file required quarterly withholding tax returns from 2019 through the second quarter of 2021. The complaint states that the Mr. Utne also failed to file individual income tax returns on his earned income for tax years 2018 through 2019 despite earning enough income to be required by law to file a return.

Each tax-related felony charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison, a $10,000 fine, or both. Defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Although most taxpayers comply with tax laws voluntarily, the department takes enforcement action against noncompliant taxpayers to ensure that tax laws are administered fairly.

Many of the department’s criminal case referrals come from public tips. There is a 24-hour tip line for anyone who suspects that a person or business is violating Minnesota tax laws. Local callers may dial 651-297-5195 or call toll-free by dialing 1-800-657-3500. Tips can also be submitted to the department by email at Tipsters may choose to remain anonymous. 

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Ryan Brown