February 28, 2005
DISBARRED ATTORNEY SENTENCED TO FOUR MONTHS OF HOUSE
General J. Joseph Curran, Jr. announces today that Joe Carl Ashworth,
a disbarred attorney from St. Mary’s
County, was sentenced to two years to the Department of Corrections,
with all but four months suspended, to be served on house arrest.
The 54 year old Ashworth was sentenced by judge Joseph P. Manck
in Anne Arundel County Circuit Court after pleading guilty last
month to three counts of Failure to File Income Tax Returns. In
a statement of facts read into the record at the time of the guilty
plea, Judge Manck learned that Ashworth had a solo legal practice
in St. Mary’s County from 1996 to 2004. Based on generating
gross income from his legal practice of between $50,000 and $168,000
for each of the tax years of 2001, 2002, and 2003, Ashworth was
required to file state income tax returns. In court, Ashworth admitted
that he willfully failed to file state income tax returns each
of the past three years.
Prior to handing out the sentence, Judge Manck remarked that a “message
has to go out” to others who would consider not filing income
tax returns. After he is released from house arrest, Ashworth will
be on 18 months of supervised probation. As a condition of his
probation, Ashworth was also ordered to comply with the Office
of the Comptroller in paying all past due taxes.
The case was investigated and prosecuted by the Criminal Investigations
Division of the Office of the Attorney General.