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Russell Smith Federal Courthouse

The Russell Smith Federal Courthouse in Missoula

A Missoula couple who owns car washes in Missoula and Hamilton have been indicted, along with their accountant, on charges related to federal tax fraud.

Joseph and Traci Baumgardner, as well as Daniel Brian Burke, each face a total of 13 federal charges including conspiracy to defraud the United States and submitting false documents.

The indictment naming all three defendants was filed March 7. Joseph Baumgardner, 55, Traci Baumgardner, 48, and Burke, 62, have all pleaded not guilty to the charges. 

An investigation by the Internal Revenue Service allegedly found the Baumgardners and their accountant had skimmed money from their businesses, Pro Sweep Plus and Splash Car Wash, without reporting the income on their tax returns between the years 2011 and 2013. As an S Corporation, the business revenues and expenses are tied to the owners' individual income tax returns.

In that time, the IRS reportedly found the actual receipts from the two businesses totaled more than $5 million, while the taxes paid in that period amounted to only $10,066.

Pro Sweep Plus has come under new ownership; Mike O'Connor told the Missoulian on Friday he purchased the business last year. An employee at Splash Car Wash, which has locations in Missoula and Hamilton, also said the Baumgardners sold the business last year.

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Along with skimming cash off the books, federal authorities allege the trio inaccurately identified assets as business items when in fact they were personal assets. For example, "a 2008 trailer" was actually found to be a 2004 Freightliner motor home, and a "sweeper" was actually a 1998 Nordic Heat ski boat, according to charging documents. 

Prosecutors also say deducted business expenses were found to be family trips to Florida, Hawaii and Las Vegas, and purchases at The Buckle and Bob Ward's, among other things. 

A trial date has not been set.

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