In addition to a second-degree murder charge, former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin also faces nine counts of tax fraud. File Photo courtesy Ramsey County Sheriff's Office | License Photo
July 22 (UPI) -- The former Minneapolis police officer accused of second-degree murder in the death of George Floyd was charged with tax fraud Wednesday.
Derek Chauvin and his wife, Kellie Chauvin, each face nine counts of tax fraud for allegedly underreporting their income by nearly $500,000 from 2014 to 2019. Washington County prosecutors said the couple didn't file any tax returns from 2016-18.
The couple allegedly owe the state of Minnesota more than $21,000 in taxes as well as a $17,000 penalty.
"When you fail to fulfill the basic obligation to file and pay taxes, you are taking money from the pockets of citizens of Minnesota," said Washington County Attorney Pete Orput. "Our office has and will continue to file these charges when presented. Whether you are a prosecutor or police officer, or you are doctor or a realtor, no one is above the law."
The Chauvins' taxes came under scrutiny after Derek Chauvin was arrested for his involvement in Floyd's death on May 25. He was recorded on video kneeling on Floyd's neck for more than 8 minutes as Floyd repeatedly said he couldn't breathe.
Derek Chauvin and three other Minneapolis officers were arrested Floyd for allegedly attempting to use a counterfeit $20 bill at a food store.
The other former officers -- J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao -- face charges of aiding and abetting second-degree murder and manslaughter. All four men were fired the day after Floyd's death.
The incident sparked worldwide protests against racial bias and police brutality and forced many law enforcement agencies to review and reform their policies on use of force.