The fired Minneapolis police officer charged with killing George Floyd was charged along with his wife Wednesday with felony tax crimes dating back to 2014 that allege failure to claim more than $460,000 in income — at least $96,000 of that in his off-duty security work.
Derek Chauvin and Kellie Chauvin, of Oakdale, were each charged by summons in Washington County District Court with nine felony counts of aiding and abetting false or fraudulent tax returns or failing to file returns.
From 2014 to 2019, the Chauvins underreported $464,433 in joint income and owed a total of $21,853 in taxes, according to the charges. With interest and late filing and fraud penalties, they owe $37,868, the complaints said.
Derek Chauvin, 46, remains jailed on second-degree murder and manslaughter charges in connection with the death of Floyd while in police custody on May 25. Three other ex-officers, Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao are charged with aiding and abetting Chauvin.
Kellie Chauvin, 45, who has filed for divorce since her husband was charged, was not available for comment.
County Attorney Pete Orput said the investigation of the two “was in the works well before” Derek Chauvin was charged with Floyd’s death in late May.
Orput said state Department of Revenue officials contacted his office in June with what they found, and “they were sending [Chauvin] letters last year” about no returns being filed, “and they got no response.”
Then, when Derek Chauvin came under worldwide attention for his role in Floyd’s killing, revenue officials “read the guy’s name and realize this is their guy,” Orput said.
The county attorney called the Chauvins’ tax troubles “run of the mill, but it just happens to be the [police officer] sitting in Oak Park [Heights prison]. … The guy owes us money, and I want to collect. I don’t care about his other problems.”
The filing includes a litany of allegations. Among them, 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 — they own a condo in Windermere, outside Orlando — and paid $4,664 in taxes in that state.
However, the vehicle was serviced 11 times in Minnetonka and never in Florida, investigators say they found. Kellie Chauvin told investigators they opted for Florida because it was less expensive. The taxes due on the SUV had it been registered in Minnesota were $5,053.
Court records do not list an attorney for either of the Chauvins. Derek Chauvin’s criminal attorney, Eric Nelson, said he knows nothing about the tax allegations.
The counts and their dates are identical for the Chauvins. There are six involving aiding and abetting allegations of false or fraudulent returns starting with the 2014 tax year. The others allege not filing taxes for 2016, 2017 and 2018.
The charges document various sources of income for the couple. The complaints said that between 2014 and 2019, Derek Chauvin made between $52,000 and $72,000 annually as a police officer. He also worked off-duty security nearly every weekend in that time at El Nuevo Rodeo dance club, Cub Foods, Midtown Global Market and EME Antro Bar on E. Lake Street.
During that span, Chauvin failed to pay taxes on nearly $96,000 he earned from El Nuevo Rodeo alone, investigators estimated.
Beginning in June 2019, he routinely worked off-duty at EME Antro Bar on weekends from 11 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. after his MPD shift and was paid $250 in cash each night, said investigators, who located no corresponding tax papers.
On June 25, state revenue investigators searched the Chauvins’ Oakdale home, which was mostly empty. They recovered a box of tax documents, financial information and work schedules. Investigators also searched the home of Derek Chauvin’s father, an accountant who prepared their 2014 and 2015 tax returns based on information they provided him. The father said he filed an extension to do their 2016 returns, but that they never provided him with the information to complete them.
Kellie Chauvin, also known as Kellie Xiong and who worked as a real estate agent and ran a photography business, told investigators that she had not prepared the returns because “it got away” from her, the complaints said. She was accompanied by an accountant who provided income tax returns for 2016 to 2019, but they appeared incomplete or estimated, the complaints continued.
The complaints also said that on June 26, one day after their Oakdale home was searched, Kellie Chauvin called Derek Chauvin at the prison where he is being held. She told him during the recorded call that their unfiled tax returns were being investigated.
She allegedly told her husband that she was meeting with someone about “16 to now.” He then suggested using “who we have used to handle for many years.”
She responded, “Yeah, well, we don’t want to get your dad involved, because he will just be mad at me, I mean us, not doing them for years.”
Also Wednesday, Kellie Chauvin’s attorney requested that their divorce file be sealed, citing “constant harassment from the public.”
“The circumstances surrounding Respondent’s incarceration has resulted in rage and violence throughout the community directed at both Petitioner and Respondent,” the filing said, adding that financial information and a Social Security number were hacked, resulting in attempts to secure cash advances for tens of thousands of dollars.
“Allowing public access of this file will allow further harassment of Petitioner and not allow any privacy in this matter,” the filing said. “In addition, allowing public access will allow the public and media to have notice of when hearings occur and will allow the general public to know the whereabouts of each party during the proceedings. Such access will negatively affect the parties from a safety standpoint.”
Staff writer Jennifer Bjorhus contributed to this report.