What happened to Kellie Chauvin's tax charges? The couple was charged with nine felony tax crimes
The tax evasion trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin and his estranged wife shifted to June 30, 2021, by which time his trial on murder and manslaughter charges in the death of George Floyd is expected to be over.
Derek and Kellie Chauvin appeared in January in separate and very brief hearings before Washington County District Judge Sheridan Hawley. Attorney Pete Orput alleges that the Chauvins underreported their income by almost half a million dollars between 2014 and the end of 2019. The couple didn’t file taxes at all between 2016 and 2018. The nine felony charges against the couple range from failing to file tax returns to filing false returns. Investigators found that Chauvin did extensive off-duty work, much of which wasn’t listed as income on their taxes. The Minneapolis police department requires approval for officers working off-duty but doesn’t collect information about how many hours or how much pay the officers receive.
According to the report created by the investigators, it was estimated that Chauvin earned $95,920 working security between 2014 and 2019 at El Nuevo Rodeo club, which burned down during the days of civil unrest following Floyd’s killing. They also got to know that Chauvin didn’t list the income he earned from working security shifts of three and a half hours at EME Antro Bar in Minneapolis for $250 in cash. Records show he also worked as a security person at the Midtown Global Market and Cub Foods.
The Chauvins also didn’t report more than $66,000 in income from a photography business operated by Kellie. In total, investigators estimate that the Chauvins owe almost $22,000 in back taxes, as well as almost $11,000 in fraud penalties. The couple received warning letters from the Minnesota department of revenue for missing income tax returns within the last year.
The tax evasion charges were filed in July 2020 but Orput has said the investigation was in the works before Chauvin grew globally infamous for his role in Floyd's death. Orput stated that the Minnesota department of revenue contacted his office about the tax issues in June 2020, but that his office had been sending Chauvin letters since 2019 with no response. Among other things, prosecutors say the Chauvins bought a new BMW X5 in January 2018 for $100,230 from a Minnetonka dealership and registered the SUV in Florida, where they own a condo.
According to the prosecutors, they paid $4,664 in Florida state taxes on the vehicle even though the BMW was serviced 11 times in Minnetonka and never in Florida. Had they registered the car in Minnesota, the taxes would have been $5,053. Kellie Chauvin filed for divorce on March 31, 2020, shortly after her husband was charged in Floyd's death.
In February 2021, a Minnesota judge approved their divorce settlement. The divorce was granted months after Washington County District Judge Juanita Freeman rejected a prior agreement that transferred most of the couple’s assets to Chauvin’s wife. The judge wrote at the time that the transfer of most assets to one party could be a “badge of fraud.”
Derek Chauvin is charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in Floyd’s killing. Video captured by a bystander showed Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck for several minutes on the night of May 25. Three other former officers are also charged with aiding and abetting murder and manslaughter.