June 23, 2018
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Rockport businessman sentenced to home confinement after decades of not paying sales taxes

By Stephen Betts, BDN Staff

ROCKLAND, Maine — A 64-year-old Rockport businessman will be confined to his home, when not at work, for the next six months after being sentenced Wednesday for failing over decades to pay state sales taxes on items sold at his musical instrument store.

Ronald Pinkham already has repaid $40,000 to the state and has agreed to repay the remaining $98,417 owed as part of a sentencing agreement.

Pinkham’s business — Woodsound Studio in Rockport — was discovered accidentally online by a Maine State Revenue Services agent. The agent checked and the business was not on a list of businesses that collect and pay sales taxes to the state.

Pinkham pleaded guilty in November 2012 to theft and failure to pay sales taxes. Under a deferred disposition agreed to at the time, sentencing would be delayed for a year and Pinkham would not be required to serve more than 180 days in jail if he paid back at least $38,000 to the state during that year.

Because Pinkham repaid $40,000 and also because the defendant has significant health problems, Assistant Attorney General Gregg Bernstein said Wednesday that he had agreed to recommend 180 days of home confinement rather than jail time.

Justice Jeffrey Hjelm ordered that during those 180 days Pinkham can only leave home to go to work, a doctor’s appointment, or buy groceries.

Pinkham also was placed on probation for two years and required to make about $5,000 a year in payments to the state.

Pinkham, who lives in Lincolnville, has operated the music instrument making store in the Rockport village of Glen Cove since the 1970s. Bernstein said at the plea hearing in November 2012 that since at least the 1980s Pinkham collected sales taxes from customers but deposited that money in his own accounts for his personal use rather than submitting the funds to the state. The amount of uncollected taxes and interest totaled more than $139,000, the prosecutor said.

Pinkham was represented by attorney Eric “Rick” Morse.


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