Former NBA player C. Tate George, who is serving time in prison for orchestrating a $2 million plus Ponzi scheme, failed to file his tax return in 2013, so the IRS did it for him. In 2013 George received a $208,111 pension distribution from the NBA. The Tax Court ruled that he owed the IRS $28,696 in taxes and $9,000 in additional fees.
George called foul and asked for a do-over so he could prepare his own taxes, stating that since he was in prison, he couldn’t gather all his receipts and itemize deductions. Tax Court Judge Halpern didn’t buy it and said, “The mere fact that [George] was incarcerated when his return was due is not reasonable cause for his failure to file timely.” George complained that paying the taxes would be a hardship for him and his family. Judge Halpern held his ruling.
George is best remembered for his 1990 NCAA March Madness 15-footer buzzer-beater shot that gave the U Conn Huskies the point they needed to win the game from Clemson. He played in the NBA for a total of four years for the New Jersey Nets and Milwaukee Bucks. In 2005 he formed a real estate development firm called The George Group. Instead of developing properties with investors’ money, George used it to pay other investors. Special agent Richard M. Frankel added, “George lined his pockets with the rest, funding extensive renovations of his home, paying for his daughter’s sixteenth birthday party and producing a reality video about himself.” George was sentenced to nine years in prison for his Ponzi scheme, along with a $2.5 million restitution order to pay back victims.