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McClure pleads guilty to five counts of filing false income tax returns

Staff Report • Jan 16, 2009 at 12:00 AM

According to the Bristol Herald Courier, late in April 2006, Larry McClure received a visit from a friend and client who had driven from Florida with a burning question.

Why, Keith Segars wanted to know, had special agents from the Internal Revenue Service hounded him the previous day about payments he had made to McClure? With the revelation that he was in the crosshairs of federal investigators, McClure acted quickly, attempting to disguise thousands of dollars he failed to report on his tax returns, federal prosecutors revealed in court Thursday.

McClure, co-founder of Morgan-McClure Motorsports, pleaded guilty to five counts of filing false income tax returns, obstructing the federal investigation and lying to IRS investigators. He faces up to 15 years in prison and $1.25 million in fines. He also must pay $59,852 in restitution to the Eastman Kodak Co. as a result of submitting a false invoice, and $25,000 in investigative fees to the IRS.

McClure remains free on bond pending his sentencing, which is set for April.

In exchange for his plea, prosecutors moved to dismiss two other indictments against McClure alleging money laundering, wire and mail fraud, which U.S. District Court Judge James P. Jones accepted. Prosecutors also will move for a reduction in his offense level at sentencing.

The motorsports icon, who last week acknowledged his guilt in a written statement his attorney submitted to the Herald Courier, declined to comment after the hearing.

Testimony from a special agent for the IRS on Thursday added details to the charges against McClure. In all, McClure failed to report $269,000 on his tax returns for 2002, 2003 and 2004, which he will amend and refile as part of his plea agreement. Agent Trevor McMurray estimated that McClure owed more than $100,000 in taxes.

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