Foul Play: Top Athletes with Tax Problems

July 2, 2010 | By: TaxCure Staff

While these top athletes may be known for their speed, strength and coordination, honesty is certainly not one of their finest qualities as they have all faced serious run-ins with the IRS. Despite the millions that these stars bring in each year, they could not outrun the IRS and were caught red-handed with some of the largest tax evasion bills.

  • Mel Blount: Former star for the Pittsburgh Steelers is now forced to play defense against the much dreaded IRS. The IRS is claiming that this Hall of Famer owes more than half a million dollars. His outstanding bill of $631,000 has been a long time coming and allegedly is the result of unpaid income taxes between 1994 and 2006.
  • Thomas “Hitman” Hearns: Famous Detroit boxer was forced to auction off some of his most prized possessions this year after being unable to dodge IRS tax liens reportedly amounting to nearly $1 million.
  • Ron Darling: In 2009, this former Mets pitcher was hit with both state and federal tax liens amount an astounding $544,197.
  • John Daly: Despite earning an estimated $9 million throughout his career, this controversial professional golfer now owes the IRS over $1 million in back taxes for 2007 and 2008.
  • Pete Rose: This baseball all-star will no longer be known strictly for his hitting record but was hit hard with a $1 million federal tax lien in 2004 after he failed to file two tax returns. The pro-baseball player turned Cincinnati Reds manager was sentenced to five months in a state correctional facility along with a $50,000 fine and over 1,000 hours of community service.
  • Darryl Strawberry: Eight All-Star memberships and two World Series could not keep this baseball star from the IRS. Strawberry first became under attack in 1994 when he was faced with a $350,000 bill for back taxes.
  • O.J Simpson: While tax problems turned out to be the least of this ex-football stars troubles, he too gained the title of a prolific tax dodger by the California Tax Board. Simpson was accused of owing almost $1.5 million in unpaid taxes to the IRS though this charge was quickly overshadowed by more serious charges.
  • Helio Castroneves: Brazilian race car driver was acquitted on six counts of tax evasion in 2009 after being accused of avoiding $2.3 million in U.S. income taxes.