Lenoir roofer convicted of tax evasion

He alleges civil rights violations
Feb. 26, 2014 @ 08:15 AM

A Lenoir roofer was convicted Thursday in Raleigh on tax-evasion charges.

Michael Lawrence Klingler, 59, of 3599 Wilkesboro Boulevard was arrested Sept. 30, 2013, on five counts of willfull failure to file state income taxes returns for the tax years 2007-11, and he was convicted Thursday on all five. Klingler is the owner of Mike Klinger Roofing and Leak Repair. Judge Jacqueline Brewer of Wake District Court sentenced him to 90 days in prison but suspended the sentence placed him on supervised probation for 18 months. He also was ordered to file all of his personal income tax returns for the tax years 2007-11 and pay a fine of $1,000 plus court costs.

Klingler filed a lawsuit Jan. 31 in U.S. District Court in Statesville alleging that the N.C. Department of Revenue had no legal grounds for arresting him and violated his constitutional rights. His lawsuit says that the actions of the three arresting officers -- Robert J. Ahern and Joe Whittington of the N.C. Department of Revenue, and Officer M. Coffey II of the Lenoir Police Department -- equated to "criminal conspiracy" and "criminal treason."

Klingler could not be reached for comment, and officials at the Department of Revenue declined comment on the lawsuit.

In the 13-page court filing, Klingler alleges Ahern and Whittington visited local bulding supply stores, banks, businesses and homes of contractors Klingler did business with, and took his private records without cause and without a warrant. The actions, according to the suit, damaged Klingler's reputation and ability to do business.

The suit also alleges that at 10:30 a.m. on Sept. 30, Klingler was arrested as he exited the Lenoir Post Office, was handcuffed and searched by Coffey in full view of onlookers and placed in a patrol car without cause, held five hours and forced to post a $2,500 bond. The suit also alleges that the negative publicity further damaged his standing and ability to work in the community.

The suit seeks more than $1.6 million in damages.