Mississippi Rep. Banks charged with felony false tax return

A longtime Mississippi lawmaker has been charged with willfully making a false statement on a tax return for allegedly failing to report more than $500,000 of income from the 2018 sale of real estate.

Democratic Rep. Earle Banks of Jackson has agreed to waive indictment and be prosecuted on the felony charge, according to court documents filed Thursday. He is scheduled to appear in federal court May 17 to enter a plea.

Banks, 68, has been in the House since 1993. He is a funeral director and attorney.

“Mr. Banks made a mistake on his tax return in 2018 and failed to include a capital gain,” his attorney, Rob McDuff, said in a statement. “We have cooperated with the IRS and the U.S. attorney’s office as they have looked into this matter, and we will continue that cooperation in moving toward a final resolution.”

A federal charging document was first filed against Banks, under seal, on April 14. It was unsealed Thursday.


Mississippi state Rep. Earle Banks, D-Jackson, asks a question at the Mississippi state Capitol in Jackson, Mississippi, on Oct. 18, 2022 (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis, File)


The document shows Banks claimed adjusted gross income of $38,237 even though he knew he had received more than $500,000 from the sale of real estate.

Banks is unopposed as he seeks reelection this year in House District 67, which is entirely in Hinds County.

Conviction of many felony charges disqualifies people from holding public offices in Mississippi, but convictions for manslaughter or violating federal tax laws do not prevent people from seeking or holding office, including a legislative seat.

Banks ran unsuccessfully for a Mississippi Supreme Court seat in 2012.

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