The former manager of the university's construction and maintenance programs has been sentenced to 18 months in prison and a $4,000 fine for failing to pay taxes on monies received from a "kickback" scheme from a company doing business with Johns Hopkins. After the completion of his prison term, which will begin in January 2000, he will be under two years of supervised release.
Robert J. Schuerholz, executive director of facilities and real estate until he was fired in 1997, pleaded guilty last May to underpaying his 1995 federal tax bill by $31,000 when he failed to report $113,000 in income.
As part of his plea, he agreed that his total tax evasion from 1992 to 1995 amounted to $97,000. He conceded under-reporting his income by $348,000 over those four years.
Schuerholz faced a maximum of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine when he was sentenced Nov. 12, but federal sentencing guidelines call for a lesser penalty in most tax evasion cases. Schuerholz also could be found liable by the Internal Revenue Service for back taxes, interest and penalties for all the tax years involved in the case.
According to the statement of facts filed by the U.S. Attorney's Office and accepted by Schuerholz as part of the plea agreement, the unreported income was a kickback from university payments on false or padded bills from Elco Electric Co., whose president is Schuerholz's cousin, Donald Schuerholz. Robert Schuerholz had authority over certain university maintenance contracts, and admitted he arranged for the inflated bills and authorized payment of them.
An audit of the Office of Facilities and Real Estate determined that the total money lost by the university in schemes engineered by Schuerholz, involving Elco and another contractor, TSI, may have exceeded $1.5 million.