George Floyd murder suspect Derek Chauvin charged with tax evasion in Minnesota

Derek Chauvin and his wife failed to file income tax returns and pay Minnesota income taxes.
Derek Chauvin and his wife failed to file income tax returns and pay Minnesota income taxes.PHOTO: NYTIMES

NEW YORK (NYTIMES) - Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer accused of killing George Floyd, was charged with multiple tax-related felonies, prosecutors announced Wednesday (July 22).

Chauvin and his wife, Kellie Chauvin, failed to file income tax returns and pay Minnesota income taxes, and under-reported and underpaid income taxes, according to Washington County prosecutors. The investigation into six years of tax filings, prosecutors said, also showed that the Chauvins did not pay the proper amount of sales tax on a vehicle.

The charges against Derek and Kellie Chauvin, who filed for divorce days after Mr Floyd's death May 25, come after an investigation by the Minnesota Department of Revenue and the Oakdale Police Department.

"Whether you are a prosecutor or police officer, or you are doctor or a Realtor, no one is above the law," the county's chief prosecutor, Mr Pete Orput, said in a statement.

Derek Chauvin, 44, was previously charged with second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter after he held his knee on Mr Floyd's neck for more than eight minutes during an arrest. The deadly encounter with Mr Floyd, which bystanders captured on video, led to weeks of nationwide protests demanding police reform.

During his 19-year tenure as a police officer, Derek Chauvin was the subject of at least 16 misconduct complaints. He was fired along with three other officers charged with aiding and abetting in Mr Floyd's death and is awaiting trial in a Minnesota state prison.

A defence lawyer representing Derek Chauvin could not immediately be reached for comment about the tax evasion charges. It was unclear whether Kellie Chauvin had a lawyer in the case.

A tax investigation into the Chauvins began last month, according to the prosecutors, who say that the Chauvins filed fraudulent tax returns from 2014 through 2019 and that they failed to timely file state income tax returns from 2016 through 2019.

The complaint claims that Derek and Kellie Chauvin were aware of their failed tax obligations because revenue officials had reached out to them multiple times last year about a missing 2016 tax return.