August 21, 2009

Judge unswayed by tree pruning plea

A federal judge in Minnesota rejected a convicted tax evader's argument that he needed to stay out of prison because he has trees to prune.

Larry Kladek, 66, former owner of the King of Diamonds Gentlemen's Club in Inver Grove Heights, wrote a letter to U.S. District Judge Patrick Schiltz on the eve of his sentencing requesting the judge rule out a prison sentence because he is needed to perform functions on the outside, including pruning the 11 crab apple trees outside the former strip club, which is now owned by his wife, the St. Paul (Minn.) Pioneer Press reported Friday.

However, Schiltz scolded Kladek, whose net worth exceeds $10.5 million, for his sheer greed and sentenced him to 20 months in prison. Kladek was also ordered to pay the maximum $40,000 fine and pay his debt to the IRS.