And so the long, sordid story of high-tone Realtors Eleanor and Nicky Sheets comes to an end. Four months after Eleanor pleaded guilty to four counts of tax evasion, she was sentenced this morning by U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul D. Stickney to a year in prison, to be followed by three years of probation. Stickney also ordered her to pay $1,371,572 in back taxes. Her sentencing comes three months after husband Nicky, who likewise took a guilty plea, was ordered to serve three years and four months in the joint; he also has to fork over $2,408,662 in back taxes since he didn't bother to pay the IRS for the years 1997, '98, '99, 2001, '05, '06, '07 and '08.
The full release from the U.S. Attorney's Office follows, but long story short is: Eleanor won't have to go to prison, says the release, "because of her physical and mental health conditions." She'll be electronically monitored and confined to her home. (No, not this one.) Says the U.S. Attorney:
At the hearing today, Eleanor Sheets asked the judge for leniency and apologized to the Court. She indicated that she and her family are embarrassed by her current situation and she is sorry for her actions. Her attorneys argued to the Court that she has literally lost everything -- her home, her lifestyle, her business, her dignity, the respect of the community and in two weeks, her husband. They argued that, because of her physical and mental conditions, sentencing her to a term in prison would amount to a death sentence.
Jump for a full accounting.
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DALLAS REALTOR SENTENCED
FOR FAILING TO PAY FEDERAL INCOME TAXES
DALLAS - Eleanor Mowery Sheets, who admitted failing to pay federal income taxes, was sentenced this morning by U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul D. Stickney to one year in prison, three years' probation and ordered to pay $1,371,572 in back taxes, announced U.S. Attorney James T. Jacks of the Northern District of Texas. At the sentencing hearing, Judge Stickney stated that he will allow Sheets to serve her one-year prison sentence under strict home confinement, including electronic monitoring, because of her physical and mental health conditions. After her home confinement, which begins immediately, is served, she will begin serving her three-year probationary period.
During the hearing today, her husband, John Nicholas "Nicky" Sheets testified on her behalf. According to the public record, he pleaded guilty to one count of tax evasion and was sentenced in August to 40 months in prison; he must report to his assigned correctional facility in Virginia by November 17, 2010. He testified that Eleanor Mowery Sheets was the "face" and "persona" of EMS, Inc. but he ran the business side of the company by himself, stating that he paid, or didn't pay, all bills and handled all tax-related issues. He testified that he intentionally hid from Eleanor Sheets the true extent of their financial problems and stated that he also signed Eleanor Sheets' name to numerous tax returns and then didn't pay the taxes due. Nicky Sheets testified that Eleanor Mowery Sheets became a "larger than life" fixture in Park Cities real estate but in reality, it wasn't as it seemed. He testified that for many years Eleanor Sheets suffered from debilitating physical and mental medical conditions that hampered her ability to assist him in the day-to-day activities of their real estate business.
At the hearing today, Eleanor Sheets asked the judge for leniency and apologized to the Court. She indicated that she and her family are embarrassed by her current situation and she is sorry for her actions. Her attorneys argued to the Court that she has literally lost everything - her home, her lifestyle, her business, her dignity, the respect of the community and in two weeks, her husband. They argued that, because of her physical and mental conditions, sentencing her to a term in prison would amount to a death sentence.
According to documents filed in the case, Eleanor Sheets is a licensed realtor who has lived and worked in the Dallas area for several years. Since 1996, she and her husband successfully worked as real estate agents and established multiple closely-held corporations, including, EMS, Inc., E-Residential, LLC and Dallas EMS, LLC, to conduct real estate business. During tax years 2003 through 2007, Eleanor and Nicky Sheets lived in a home, with a market value in excess of $1.3 million, in the Preston Hollow area of Dallas. That home has since been seized by the IRS.
According to the plea documents, Eleanor Sheets admitted that she willfully failed to pay both individual income and corporate taxes during tax years 2003 through 2007. She pleaded guilty in July 2010 to four counts of failure to pay income taxes.