Summit County plumber who is facing theft, tax evasion charges is expected to be sentenced next month
BRECKENRIDGE — An end is in sight in the adjudication of a theft case in which a local plumber allegedly stole tens of thousands of dollars in deposits from customers around Summit County.
Tracey Tucker, 50, who formerly ran a plumbing and heating company called Mountain Mechanical out of Fairplay, is facing felony charges of theft and tax evasion after a number of his customers claimed he collected and cashed thousands in deposit checks but never followed through on the work.
The investigation into Tucker began in September 2018, when the Summit County Sheriff’s Office received a report that a local woman paid him more than $7,000 for plumbing work at her residence. While her check was cashed, Tucker never pulled any permits for the work or showed up to complete it, according to police records.
Investigators quickly discovered there were other potential victims in the case, including another person claiming a theft of $6,000 on Mountain Mechanical’s Facebook page and numerous reviews of the business alleging stolen deposits with no work performed.
Deputies contacted Tucker, who said he planned to pay all of his customers back, noting that he was the defendant in a number of ongoing civil lawsuits. He also admitted he was planning on leaving the state and moving to Hawaii. During the investigation, detectives discovered another couple who was in the process of making a criminal complaint against Tucker, according to records.
On Sept. 21, 2018, an arrest warrant was issued for Tucker, and he was arrested the next day on charges of felony theft. An ancillary investigation into Tucker by the Criminal Tax Enforcement Section of the Colorado Department of Revenue raised more questions about potential criminal behavior.
The special agent’s report, filed in late December 2019, detailed a number of alleged thefts from customers throughout the area — a pattern of collecting a 50% deposit, not completing the work and not giving a refund — including Dillon, Breckenridge, Fairplay and unincorporated areas of Park and Summit counties. Between February and July 2018, Tucker accepted more than $54,000 in deposits, according to the report.
In addition, it appears Tucker might have failed to pay any taxes on that income. The Department of Revenue report notes that Tucker never filed a Colorado state income tax return nor did he file a federal income tax return between 2013 and 2018.
Investigators were able to determine Tucker’s presumptive incomes during that period based on information obtained from the IRS, including 1099-G and W2 statements. In total, the report estimates Tucker “willfully evaded income tax” in 2013, 2016 and 2018, allegedly skipping out on more than $5,000 in taxes.
Tucker initially pleaded not guilty to six charges of theft in July 2019, and a jury trial was set for January of this year. But last month, the court granted a motion to drop the trial due to the filing of new charges based around the Department of Revenue report.
Tucker is facing five charges of felony theft — a misdemeanor theft charge has been dismissed by the District Attorney’s Office — along with three charges of felony tax evasion. Though, it appears the case will avoid trial after all.
At a hearing Monday afternoon in front of Chief Judge Mark Thompson at the Summit County Justice Center, Tucker and his attorney Daniel Kyser appeared via telephone to discuss the possibility of accepting a plea agreement with Deputy District Attorney Stephanie Cava, meaning the case could come to a close as early as next month. Tucker is scheduled to appear for a disposition and sentencing hearing March 23.
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