The Appellate Court overturned the Code of Ethics charge brought against Barbara Tulop by the Office of the Special Prosecutor, throwing out the fine of $67,602.08 but affirming charges of tax and business license violations.
In a 17-page Appellate decision, the Court made two important rulings which will have an impact on some of the pending Code of Ethics and tax violation cases. On the Code of Ethics charge, the Court ruled in favor of Tulop, stating that merely depositing money into a bank account does not make this “income” and a “bank account” is not a “source of income”. “We conclude that while the monies that one receives from others qualifies as ‘income’ and must be reported consistent with the provisions of § 605 ( c ) (1), the mere depositing of these monies into a bank account does not make them ‘income’ for a second time triggering a second and duplicative reporting requirement. Nor is a ‘bank account’ a ‘source of income.’” The charge and its fine of $67,602 were dismissed.
Having reversed the lower court’s Code of Ethics conviction and fine, the Appellate Court said, “Having reversed Barbara Tulop’s conviction on Count two, we remand the matter for resentencing because in light of the reversed conviction, the Trial Division may now ‘have a different view of what constitutes an appropriate overall sentence in this case.’”
On the tax violation charge, Appellate upheld the lower court decision ruling that the prosecutors are not required to inform delinquent tax payers before filing criminal charges against them. “Nothing in our laws or Constitution prohibits prosecutors from ‘unilaterally filing criminal charges for tax code violations’,” the decision states. Tulop was held liable on misdemeanor charges of tax and business license violations and remanded for sentencing.
In 2020, the Special Prosecutor charged Barbara Tulop, a member of the Foreign Investment Board, and her family with Code of Ethics and Unified Tax Act violations. In the 10 charges filed, it alleges that Mrs. Tulop failed to disclosed her income from lease rental and failed to file a business license for lease rental and pay taxes on income from lease rental. Mrs. Tulop was cleared of Misconduct in Office at the Trial Court but was convicted for Code of Ethics and Tax Act violations.
She appealed these convictions. Appellate Court overturned Code of Ethics conviction and the fine was thrown out, but Tax Act violations were confirmed and remanded for sentencing.