Commissioner-elect Bouchat settles tax lien, prepares to tackle Carroll's opioid epidemic

Carroll County Times

Eric Bouchat, commissioner-elect for District 4, will be sworn in as part of Carroll County’s 61st Board of Commissioners on Tuesday, Dec. 4, and will be free from his 2014 tax lien.

Bouchat received confirmation on Nov. 26, via a letter from the IRS, that the $42,526 he owed in back taxes was resolved.

And he told the Times that was courtesy of a story written by the newspaper, “which forced the IRS to finally settle” for a payment of about $13,000.

“I’m glad I could finally get it resolved,” the commissioner-elect said Monday. “For years the IRS was really hard on me, and it wasn’t until [the Carroll County Times] article came out they finally offered to settle it, which I found very ironic.”

The tax lien, which Bouchat received Feb. 12, 2014, was a result of embezzlement by his now-deceased daughter, Tawni Bouchat, whom he had employed as a bookkeeper, he said.

“My daughter was taking money out of my company to support her heroin habit,” Bouchat told the Times in October.

Shortly after receiving notice of the tax lien, he initiated criminal charges against her on Feb. 26, 2014, in Baltimore County.

Tawni Bouchat was found guilty of felony theft scheme of $10,000 to under $100,000 on Jan. 9, 2015, after Bouchat provided documentation that she stole $21,120.72 from his company, Bouchat Industries Inc.

Court records show more than 70 transactions over the course of approximately a year where Tawni Bouchat wrote out checks to herself and various other parties ranging from $50 to $938.12.

Bouchat said before the November election that although the amount she stole didn’t cover the total tax lien, he believed that his daughter had been stealing from him for longer and did not want to perform the additional audit.

“A one-year audit was far back enough. It was painful enough,” he told the Times in October.

The day before being sworn in as District 4 commissioner on Tuesday, Bouchat said he always felt the tax lien was a heartbreaking reminder of the last troubled years he spent dealing with the consequences of his daughter’s addiction, and her untimely death in February 2016.

“[The IRS] accused me as a criminal for years,” he said. “I had to send them the conviction notice of my daughter. I had to send them her death certificate.

“All these years I had been making payments for it,” Bouchat said. “I felt like I was being robbed twice.”

An IRS spokesperson said that according to federal disclosure laws, she was unable to give details on the tax lien or Bouchat’s settlement.

“We would have to let public record documents speak for themselves,” Karen Connelly said.

According to the IRS website, the bureau will “consider your unique set of facts and circumstances” and an “offer in compromise allows you to settle your tax debt for less than the full amount you owe.”

With the tax lien behind him, Bouchat told the Times he is glad he can now turn his full attention to his work as a member of Carroll County government, and his principal goal: defeating the opioid epidemic.

“Now I can focus in on working on this opioid epidemic,” he said Monday. “After losing my daughter, it put me in a very bad place emotionally, and I didn’t think I’d ever run for county commissioner again.

“But thanks to the advice and counsel from [State’s Attorney] Brian DeLeonardo, to help him with this opioid epidemic, it helped me get back into it — and I’m glad he did.

“At first I was very skeptical, but it’s been therapeutic for me to get out and help, talk to people about it,” Bouchat continued. “By being able to do something actively and politically help others helps me deal with the pain. I know there’s thousands of other people in the community that are dealing with it, too.”

jennifer.turiano@carrollcountytimes.com

443-488-0369

twitter.com/jturianoCCT

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