AUGUSTA, Me - As the lucrative 2014 elver fishing season is set to begin, Marine Resources Commissioner Patrick Keliher and Attorney General Janet Mills announced that an elver fisherman from Ellsworth has been charged with underreporting his 2012 landings which earned him over $700,000 that season.
As a result of a plea agreement, Danny Deraps of Ellsworth will serve jail time, pay restitution and lose his elver harvesting license for the 2014 season.
Deraps, 43, of Ellsworth, was found guilty on Friday of three counts of Intentional Income Tax Evasion and one count of Theft by Deception of funds from the Maine Tax and Rent Refund program. Deraps also admitted to intentionally underreporting his elver harvest for the 2012 season in violation of State of Maine Marine Resources rules. The plea agreement calls for Deraps to serve a jail sentence of 364 days, all but 90 days suspended, followed by two years of supervision. Deraps is prohibited from elver fishing or assisting in elver fishing during the current season. On Friday Deraps paid $25,338.51 towards his state income tax debt. Before sentence is imposed the State and Deraps will finalize details of the remaining tax liability which will be paid in full in the coming months.
The State investigated Deraps' 2012 elver harvest reports and found that Deraps earned over $700,000 from elver fishing in 2012 and nearly $70,000 from lobster fishing the rest of the year. Deraps reported less than half of those earnings on his 2012 Maine income tax return. Deraps also underreported his lobster fishing income for 2010 and 2011. Deraps is cooperating with Maine Revenue Services with respect to his 2013 income taxes, including his earnings from the 2013 elver fishing season.
"This case underscores the importance of harvester reports," said Marine Resources Commissioner Patrick Keliher. "Our ability to manage and sustain Maine's marine resources relies heavily on accurate reporting of harvester landings data. We take this very seriously and will continue to be vigilant in our efforts to ensure compliance."
Attorney General Mills commented, "My Office will continue to work with other state agencies to pursue those who would cheat the government and those who steal public resources, no matter who or where they are or what they do for work. In these difficult times, all Mainers must pay their fair share."