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Tax evasion charges filed against former NFL great

While much of the conversation concerning football over the last 48 hours has been dedicated almost exclusively to the National Football League draft, it's important not to overlook other very interesting football-related stories, including one involving a former star receiver now facing tax evasion charges.

According to reports, Plaxico Burress, who enjoyed a checkered career with multiple NFL franchises, was recently charged with a single count of willful failure to pay state tax and a single count of issuing an insufficient electronic payment.

According to the complaint, when Burress filed his 2013 income tax return back in Oct 2014, the electronic payment he submitted to cover his $47,903 tax bill failed to clear. The matter was ultimately referred to the authorities after officials from multiple agencies proved unable to reach Burress about the missing payment.    

If convicted, he faces a maximum fine of $15,000 and up to five years in prison.

What makes this case notable outside of Burress' involvement is that it is the first prosecution under a New Jersey law that went into effect back in September, which treats insufficient electronic payments -- i.e., payments drawn from nonexistent accounts or accounts without the necessary funds -- the same as bounced checks.

It remains to be seen how this case will unfold. Indeed, it could be that Burress' accountant failed to make the necessary payments unbeknownst to him or that the entire matter is just a misunderstanding that can be resolved before going to trial.

Regardless of whatever happens with Burress, his case serves to underscore how tax evasion is treated seriously by officials at both the state level and the federal level, and how the penalties associated with these charges are often incredibly serious.

As such, if you find yourself facing charges for any sort of federal tax crime, consider speaking with an experienced legal professional as soon as possible.

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