A North Carolina businessman credited with helping make possible a student center at Liberty University that bears the family name was sentenced last month to 32 months in prison for his involvement in a scheme to evade paying his federal income taxes.
Thomas Tilley, a Chapel Hill and Durham, North Carolina, millionaire businessman, was sentenced Sept. 21 by Chief U.S. District Judge William L. Osteen Jr., of the Middle District of North Carolina. Tilley, 80, also was ordered to pay more than $7 million in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service.
He pleaded guilty in November 2014 to one count of corruptly endeavoring to impede and obstruct the administration of the Internal Revenue Code.
Court documents show from 1993 to at least 2010,
Tilley sent the IRS fraudulent financial instruments in an attempt to discharge his tax debt. Court documents also show Tilley failed to file federal and state income tax returns from 1994 through 2013 despite earning a substantial income.
In September 2008, Tilley and his wife Iris were introduced at a campus convocation by Liberty President Jerry Falwell Jr. as the pair who "made it possible" for the Tilley Student Center to be built in the LaHaye Student Union, according to a news item about the event on the university's website.
The couple is Falwell's mother-in-law and father-in-law. The News & Advance reported in 2008 the couple donated $250,000 for construction of the student union.
After the $250,000 donation was received in 2008, according to a statement Tuesday from Liberty, the Tilley family advised it actually was Tom Tilley's father's estate that made the donation. Since that time, the Tilley Center has been named for the donors, Brodie and Ruth Tilley, who died at ages 99 and 97 in 2004 and 2002, according to the statement.
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