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Sun Prairie electrical contractor gets 18 months in prison on tax charges

The owner of a Sun Prairie electrical contractor was sentenced on Tuesday to 18 months in prison for failing to pay $622,702 in employment taxes.

U.S. District Judge James Peterson sentenced Joseph Kott, 44, to 18 months in federal prison and two years on supervised release for failing to pay federal income and employment taxes between 2014 and 2018. Kott pleaded guilty to the tax charge during a combined plea-and-sentencing hearing on Tuesday.

A licensed master electrician, Kott has owned and operated the Sun Prairie-based electrical installation and service contractor Alpha Electric since 2022. A grand jury indicted Kott last year for failing to pay a total of $428,966 in income taxes and employment taxes, and for failing to pay $193,739 in the employer’s matching share of FICA and Medicare taxes.

During the hearing, Peterson said Kott’s 18-month prison sentence was necessary to show other employers and the general public what happens if they cheat on federal taxes. The judge rejected the defense’s argument that Kott should not be imprisoned because of COVID-19, noting that the pandemic doesn’t prevent incarceration in criminal cases. Kott is required to report to prison in April.

About Nate Beck,

Nate Beck is the construction staff writer for The Daily Reporter, a sister publication to the Wisconsin Law Journal. He can be reached at (414) 225-1814 (office) or 414-388-5635 (mobile).

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