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Polaris Hotel/Bar owner allegedly commits tax evasion

Nome's Polaris hotel, bar, and liquor store burned down in October of 2017. Photo courtesy of John Handeland, used with permission.

The owner of the Polaris, a former Nome bar and liquor store, has been indicted for evading about $1.5 million in federal income taxes spread out over several years.

Tina H. Yi of Nome, who now lives in Anchorage, was the sole owner of the Polaris hotel, bar and liquor store from 2007 until October 2017. The Polaris was burned to the ground five years ago after a fire started inside a portion of the liquor store. Although an investigator with the State Fire Marshal’s office came to Nome at the time, the exact cause of the fire was never released to the public. KNOM Radio has submitted a public records request to the State to obtain that information.

Yi filed false personal tax returns and evaded $1.5 million in federal income taxes from 2014 to 2018, according to the U.S. District Attorney’s Office in Alaska. Allegedly, Yi was keeping two sets of financial accounts and records for her Polaris business. One of those books was accurate, while the other, “understated the company’s income.”

The indictment said that Yi provided fake records for her accountant to use to file her tax returns, starting in 2014. Allegedly, Yi failed to report more than $3.2 million in income to the IRS over the course of four years.

She had her initial court appearance in the U.S. District Court of Alaska the afternoon of Nov. 2. If Yi is found guilty of tax evasion and filing false tax returns, she could face up to forty years in prison.

* An indictment is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Image at top: Nome’s Polaris hotel, bar and liquor store burned down in October of 2017. Photo courtesy of John Handeland, used with permission.

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