Retired car dealer Pflueger acquitted of tax fraud

By Jill Kuramoto
Published On: Mar 20 2013 09:40:32 AM HST
Updated On: Mar 20 2013 03:04:08 PM HST
HONOLULU -

It was a major victory in federal court on Wednesday for Jimmy Pflueger.  The retired auto dealer was acquitted on all charges of tax fraud.

But this is not the end of Pflueger's legal troubles.

Pflueger was all smiles, but had little to say as he tried to slip away from our cameras as he left federal court.

“I’m overwhelmed, thank you,” said Pflueger as he walked away from court.  When asked what he meant he said, “I’m lucky to be here.”

Pflueger was charged with conspiring to conceal from the IRS the profits from the sale of a land deal in California and with filing false federal income tax returns.

The government dropped a separate charge accusing Pflueger of hiding personal assets in a Swiss bank account.

U.S. District Judge Leslie Kobayashi said the government failed to prove Pflueger knowingly and willfully participated in the tax fraud and found him not guilty on all counts.

“In our system we go by evidence in court and I think the evidence here reflected he was innocent of the charges. To me that shows the system works and it works for a man who should have been exonerated,” said Pflueger’s attorney Steven Toscher.

Pflueger's accountant pleaded guilty last October to conspiring to defraud the IRS and assisting in filing of a false federal income tax return for Pflueger and his family.  Sentencing for Dennis Duban is scheduled for next month.

Pflueger's attorney said this trial has been extremely stressful for his 87-year-old client.

"(Pflueger) has been under a lot of pressure. He happens to be a man of great fortitude and withstood a lot of this, so I commend him. But it’s difficult for even someone much younger,” said Toscher. “He’s now entitled to a little peace.”

But the retired car dealer still must pay back the taxes he owes and is still awaiting trial in state court on manslaughter charges in connection with the deaths of seven people who were swept away when the Ka Loko dam breached on Kauai's north shore in 2006.

That trial is scheduled for next month.

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