Courts

A 58-year-old Savage man is accused of committing tax fraud in relationship to his local taxidermy business, the Minnesota Department of Revenue announced Tuesday. 

Robert Michael Utne, 58, faces 17 tax-related felony charges in Scott County District Court. 

Authorities allege Utne committed multiple forms of tax fraud in operating his taxidermy business, Wild Images in Motion, from 2015 until this year. 

The charges filed against Utne include: 

  • 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 criminal complaint, the state Department of Revenue began investigating Utne one year ago after receiving an anonymous tip. 

Investigators allege 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 business. 

Charges filed against Utne also allege he failed to report his earnings as the sole proprietor of the business. 

According to charges, Utne allegedly failed to file required quarterly withholding tax returns from 2019 through the second quarter of 2021.

Additionally, investigators allege 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.

According to charges, investigators asked Utne why he hadn't filed his taxes for 2018-20. 

He allegedly replied, "I really don't have a good answer," according to charging documents. 

If convicted, each charge carries a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison and $10,000 fine. 

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