Mandy Dawson to Plead Guilty to Tax Evasion as Soon as She Figures Out How Much She Evaded

​Former Fort Lauderdale state Sen. Mandy Dawson will plead guilty to two counts of tax evasion and three counts of failure to file a tax return, according to documents filed yesterday in federal court. She faces up to 13 years in prison.

Dawson was indicted last year after authorities say she failed to file income taxes for 2004 through 2008, failing to pay at least $24,855 in taxes in the first two years alone. The indictment also says she concealed her "true and correct income by directing payment of taxable income to a third party."

The motion filed yesterday asks the court to extend the February 21 deadline for Dawson to file a guilty plea; it says that "the defendant needs a period of time to check the accuracy of the amount of income tax owed" and that

Dawson has hired a forensic tax accountant to figure out the details.

Dawson was notified of the February deadline last October; why she suddenly discovered she needed an extra 60 days is unclear, but her public defender included a statement that "it has been difficult for the defendant and counsel to organize and complete this process because the defendant does not have a reliable means of transportation and has been undergoing medical treatment."

It's not the first time Dawson has been in hot water -- she went into drug rehab to avoid charges of forging a painkiller prescription in 2002 and was booted from the Senate Ethics and Elections committee after lobbyists paid for a 2005 trip to South Africa.

Hollywood eye doctor/lobbyist/backroom wheeler-dealer Alan Mendelsohn also testified in federal court that he siphoned more than $80,000 to Dawson to help grease the wheels for legislation he was supporting. Mendelsohn was sentenced to four years in prison last summer. We'll have to wait 60 days to see if Dawson will join him.

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Rich Abdill