A former elected tax assessor and Needham firefighter has pleaded guilty to tax evasion charges, two years after he was indicted for allegedly failing to pay more than $100,000 in taxes on his firefighter’s pay, and on money he had misappropriated from an elderly resident, federal prosecutors said.
Kevin Foley, 56, pleaded guilty July 30 to three charges of felony tax evasion. He was charged in 2011 with failing to pay $115,552 in taxes on nearly $500,000 in income between June 2006 and April 2010, according to US Attorney Carmen Ortiz’s office in Boston.
Sentencing is slated for Oct. 24. He faces up to 15 years in prison and $300,000 in fines, the US attorney’s office said.
Foley retired as a Needham firefighter on June 18 after 23 years with the department, and will receive an annual pension of $38,692.80, Evelyn Poness, chairwoman of the town’s Contributory Retirement System board, said last week.
It is unlikely that Foley pleading guilty to tax evasion would cause the board to revoke his benefits, she said, because the charge is unrelated to his service to the town.
Prosecutors said Foley failed to pay taxes on $492,000 that he appropriated from a Needham woman, who was 77 years old at the time of Foley’s arrest. The US attorney’s office said in its 2011 indictment that Foley withdrew cash from the woman’s bank accounts and purchased money orders for his use, and endorsed checks drawn from her bank accounts to pay personal expenses, including his mortgage.
He also transferred money from her account to his accounts, used her ATM card to withdraw money for his use, and withdrew money from her account to purchase a cashier’s check, which he used to buy a boat, prosecutors said.
The US attorney’s office said Foley also failed to file taxes for his legally earned income from Needham in tax years 2007, 2008, and 2009.
Foley was elected to Needham’s Board of Assessors for a one-year term in 2007, and ran successfully for three-year terms in 2008 and April 2011.
Despite being indicted, Foley had remained on the board for the past two years; town officials said he had to resign or be found guilty to be removed from the elected position, which is voluntary and carries no pay. He also resigned from the board on June 18, said Town Clerk Theodora Eaton.
Needham’s administrative assessor, Chip Davis, said Foley attended board meetings, where members’ primary responsibility is reviewing tax abatement applications, until shortly before his resignation.
Eaton said the Board of Selectmen appointed Needham resident Kurt Ochalla last week to fill the vacant seat until next spring’s annual election.
Foley was suspended without pay from his job as a Needham firefighter in May 2011. His salary was $63,133, without overtime, officials said.
The victim previously told media outlets that Foley took over keeping track of her finances after her husband died.
Reached by phone last week, she declined to comment on Foley’s guilty plea. “I don’t wish to talk about it,” she said.