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Former Pennington County prosecutor sentenced to three months in prison for not paying taxes
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Former Pennington County prosecutor sentenced to three months in prison for not paying taxes

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Federal Courthouse

The Federal Courthouse in Rapid City.

A Rapid City lawyer and a former chief deputy of the Pennington County State's Attorney Office will get to spend the holidays at home before serving three months in federal prison for failing to pay $301,553 in taxes to the IRS. 

Gregory Sperlich was sentenced Friday at the federal court in Rapid City after pleading guilty to two counts of "willfully" failing to pay taxes, court records show. He could have been sentenced up to two years in prison. 

Sperlich will have to turn himself in to serve his prison sentence on Jan. 2. After three months of incarceration, he will spend a year on supervised release and have to pay $227,799 in restitution to the IRS. 

Sperlich worked at the state's attorney office from 1997 to 2004 before joining the DeMersseman, Jensen, Tellinghuisen & Huffman law firm, according to Journal archives and the firm's website. An employee of the law firm said Sperlich no longer works there.

Paul Winter, Sperlich's defense lawyer, previously told the Journal that the State Bar of South Dakota does not have mandatory punishments for members convicted in criminal cases but can chose to levy punishments, up to disbarment, on a case-by-case basis. Neither Winter nor a representative from the bar immediately returned messages asking if Sperlich has received any sanctions.

A Pierre-based prosecutor and Sioux-Falls based judge were assigned to the case, likely to avoid conflicts of interest with local prosecutors and judges since Sperlich has represented clients in the Rapid City federal court.

— Contact Arielle Zionts at arielle.zionts@rapidcityjournal.com

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