Tax-evading Atkins author convicted

by Staff
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KANSAS CITY, KAS. — A federal jury convicted a medical doctor who lent her expertise and credibility to the Atkins Diet and its “no carb” lifestyle on five counts of tax evasion. The earnings she sought to hide from tax authorities came from work done for Atkins Nutritionals, Inc. and from co-authoring the popular diet book, “Atkins Diabetes Revolution.”

Mary C. Vernon, M.D., 61, practiced medicine in Lawrence and Shawnee, Kas., and gained a reputation as an obesity specialist. She also served as a medical director for nursing homes.

The office of Barry Grissom, U.S. Attorney for Kansas, said she earned nearly $800,000 for services to the Atkins nutrition and weight-loss companies between 2003 and 2008, yet she avoided paying taxes on that income. In separate earlier action, the U.S. Internal Revenue Service pursued her for failing to pay taxes from 1991 through 2005 and collected about $2 million through levies and seizures.

On March 28, Dr. Vernon was convicted in federal district court in Kansas City, Kas., on five counts of tax evasion. The ruling carries maximum penalties of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine on each count. Sentencing will be set for a later date.
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