A judge has fined a Kentucky doctor $75,000 after he admitted failing to pay his income taxes.
Danville plastic surgeon Christopher Marek was also sentenced to four years probation and owed $283,687 in back taxes to the Internal Revenue Service.
U.S. District Chief Judge Danny C. Reeves sentenced Marek Friday in Lexington.
The indictment in the case accused Marek, 49, of underreporting his income by a total of $2 million during the five tax years from 2014 to 2018.
Marek, originally from Virginia, did his plastic surgery residency at the University of Kentucky before moving to Danville.
He pleaded guilty to one count of tax evasion as part of a plea deal.
Defense attorneys for Marek said in a sentencing memorandum that his troubles began when he read a book by a Michigan man, Peter Hendrickson, who argued that most of the income was only not subject to tax.
Hendrickson was convicted in 2009 of filing false tax returns and was eventually sentenced to 27 months in federal prison.
“Like many unfortunate taxpayers before him, Dr. Marek encountered the lies peddled by Peter Hendrickson. . . defense attorney Robert C. Webb said in the memo.
Marek came to believe “serious misrepresentations” about tax code definitions, which is why he failed to report income from his practice, according to the memo.
Marek sought advice from accountants who told him he needed to report the income, but did not follow through, according to the memo.
Doctors who have worked with Marek, as well as several patients, have written him letters of support, describing him as a skilled and dedicated surgeon and noting his compassion, humility and generosity.
Putting Marek in jail would deprive patients of help in a place with limited access to plastic surgery services, Webb told Reeves when seeking probation for Marek.
“He was an exemplary doctor,” Webb said.
The prosecutor, Assistant U.S. Attorney William P. Moynahan, argued for a 21-month sentence for Marek.
Marek’s non-payment of taxes was not a mistake, but an “open revolt” against the IRS, Moynahan said.
Reeves said a factor in his decision was the impact putting Marek behind bars would have on patients and his ability to pay the fine and overdue taxes.
Reeves said he believed the large fine achieved the goals of punishing Marek and deterring others from engaging in similar conduct.