A Rapid City lawyer and a former chief deputy of the Pennington County State's Attorney Office has admitted that he "willfully failed" to pay $301,553 in taxes to the IRS, according to a factual basis document he signed.
Gregory Sperlich is scheduled to plead guilty next week to two counts of failing to pay taxes, according to his plea deal. Prosecutors will dismiss two additional counts. Sperlich has agreed to pay $227,799 in restitution to the IRS and $50,000 of that sum by his sentencing date, when he can be sentenced up to one year in prison on each count.
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, said his client is still practicing law and follows all rules related to his criminal proceedings and profession, such as being in communication with the State Bar of South Dakota. The bar does not have a mandatory schedule for disciplining members convicted in criminal cases but has the authority to levy punishments, up to disbarment, on a case-by-case basis, he said.
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Sperlich is pleading guilty to two charges related to willfully failing to pay $34,341 in taxes to the IRS in 2013 and $68,574 in 2016, according to the factual basis document. However he also admitted to willfully failing to pay taxes for the years 2009-2011 and 2013-2014, and willfully failing to pay $301,533 in taxes for the years 2012-2015.
A Pierre-based prosecutor and Sioux-Falls based judge are 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.
Sperlich is scheduled to plead guilty at 4:15 p.m. on Sept. 20.