Attorney Carl Collins, known for his firm’s “855-CAR-HIT-U” billboards once prevalent along metro Detroit freeways, has been sentenced to 18 months in prison for tax fraud.
The Southfield-based personal injury attorney received the sentence Monday, according to a news release from the U.S. Department of Justice, after filing five false tax returns and failing to report more than $2.6 million in income.
U.S. District Judge Gershwin Drain also ordered Collins to serve one year of supervised release and pay a $10,000 fine. A hearing scheduled Sept. 1 will determine how much he must pay in restitution.
A federal jury convicted Collins on Nov. 16. His license to practice law was automatically suspended the same day, according to the Michigan Attorney Discipline Board.
He had faced a maximum penalty of three years in prison for each count of filing a false tax return.
According to the Justice Department, Collins owned real estate company First Third LLC and two medical services companies, MedCity Rehabilitation Services LLC and Alpha Living LLC. On tax returns for 2012, 2015 and 2018, Collins willfully failed to report income made from those businesses, officials said. Instead, he deposited the funds into an IOLTA account, which are intended for use by lawyers solely to hold money in trust for clients.
Attempts to reach Collins and his law office were unsuccessful.
An annual report and annual statement from the Law Office of Carl L. Collins III PLC was not filed this year with the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, according to online records from the department. The most recent filing is from March 2022.
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