Did Derek Chauvin ‘Under-Report Half a Million Dollars in Income’?

The former Minneapolis police officer, already sentenced for the murder of George Floyd, has been charged with nine counts of felony tax evasion.

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The claim said that Derek Chauvin underreported half a million dollars in income.
Image via C-SPAN

Claim

Derek Chauvin "under-reported half a million dollars in income."

Rating

Context

Derek Chauvin has been charged with underreporting nearly half a million dollars in income between 2014 and 2019. However, as of this writing no plea, let alone a verdict, has been entered for this case.

Origin

In June 2021, as former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin faced sentencing for the murder of George Floyd, one widely-shared social media post accused Chauvin of other crimes, namely tax evasion. On June 25, @davenewworld_2 wrote on Twitter: “Derek Chauvin underreported half a million dollars in income while owing $20,000+ in taxes, and then fucking murdered George Floyd over an alleged $20 counterfeit bill…”

The claim said that Derek Chauvin underreported half a million dollars in income.

That tweet, and the claims it contained, were further promoted in a popular Reddit post, on the following day.

On June 25, Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill sentenced Chauvin to 22 and a half years in prison for the murder of Floyd, a Black man who died after Chauvin kneeled on his neck for more than nine minutes, in May 2020.

The claim that Chauvin “underreported half a million dollars in income” stems from an ongoing criminal case against him, and his former wife Kellie May Chauvin. However, Chauvin has not yet entered a plea in that case, and has not been tried or convicted, as of June 28, 2021. As a result, we are issuing a rating of “Unproven,” for now. When the case is resolved, we will update this fact check accordingly.

A brief note: Kellie May and Derek Chauvin divorced in February 2021, and during those proceedings she expressed an intention to change her last name. However, we have not been able to find any record of that name change, so this article refers to her using her last-known last name, Chauvin. 

On July 22, 2020, the office of Washington County Attorney Pete Orput charged the Chauvins with nine counts each of felony tax evasion, claiming that they “failed to file income tax returns and pay state income taxes, underreported and underpaid taxes on income generated from various employments each year, and failed to pay proper sales tax on a vehicle purchased in Minnesota.”

The complaint against Derek Chauvin summarized the details of their alleged offenses, as follows:

The Chauvins did not file tax returns in 2016, 2017, and 2018. The filed tax returns for years 2014 and 2015 did not report income received from D. Chauvin’s off-duty security work and K. Chauvin’s photography income. Tax returns for years 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019 filed on June 26, 2020, did not report D. Chauvin’s off-duty security work and K. Chauvin’s photography income.  

According to prosecutors, the Chauvins under-reported a total of $464,433 in income between 2014 and 2019, just short of the “half a million dollars” included in the widely-shared tweet from June 2021:

Source: Washington County Attorney’s Office

However, the Chauvins have not yet entered pleas in this case, as of June 28, 2021. An omnibus hearing, at which the two defendants could potentially enter pleas, was scheduled for June 30, the Washington County Attorney’s office told Snopes. 

Since Derek Chauvin has not yet pleaded guilty or been convicted of the charges against him, and neither might ever occur, the claim that he “under-reported half a million dollars in income” was unproven, as of June 28. When the case is resolved, we will update this fact check accordingly.