A plea deal is in the works to settle federal charges against St. Johnsbury businessman Blake Jenkins

being accused by the Internal Revenue Service of tax fraud and identity theft. But according to federal court documents, a plea agreement was filed on Jan. 21 in U.S. District Court in Burlington. The details of the agreement remain confidential and a change of plea or sentencing hearing has not been scheduled yet. Jenkins was indicted by a federal grand jury on Oct. 5, 2021. He later pleaded not guilty to seven federal charges and was released from federal detention on conditions. According to court documents, the IRS conducted an extensive investigation of Jenkins’ business – Blake Jenkins Painting Inc. – including searches of its offices, bank records, safe deposit boxes and Jenkins’ day-to-day activities. Jenkins is accused in the first six counts of the indictment of avoiding federal social security and Medicare taxes by paying some of his employees in cash. Jenkins is also accused of writing payroll checks that he labeled as non-wage expenses such as equipment repair, rental fees, maintenance, storage and materials. Count seven of the indictment alleges that Jenkins committed identity theft by using someone else’s identity as part of his alleged efforts to avoid paying federal taxes. Jenkins is facing a possible sentence of up to 35 years in prison $850,000 fines.

Photo credit: