Bend resident Eric Plantenberg, a personal development teacher and public speaker, was sentenced Tuesday in federal court to a year and one day in prison for failing to file income tax returns for the years 2006-08.
“I really am clear that I made a huge mistake,” he said in a video posted on YouTube. “I apologized to the judge, to the government and certainly to my friends and family that have endured a lot.”
In October, a federal grand jury in Wisconsin indicted Plantenberg on three counts of willful failure to file income tax returns, a misdemeanor, and three counts of attempting to evade taxes, a felony.
Plantenberg, a founder of Humm Kombucha in Bend, pleaded guilty in April to the three misdemeanor charges. In exchange, the three felony charges were dismissed.
On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman sentenced Plantenberg to the maximum penalty. The judge allowed him to report to prison Sept. 2.
“We were certainly surprised by the sentencing,” Plantenberg said Wednesday. “I expected a sentence of probation with sizable financial penalties. I believe that would have been fair and just.”
According to the plea agreement, Plantenberg agreed that he made about $1.3 million in unreported income between 2005 and 2008. It resulted in a tax loss of $367,589, according to the plea agreement.
Both the plea hearing and sentencing took place in U.S. District Court in Madison, Wisconsin, where Plantenberg was an owner of three Madison-based companies — Freedom Personal Development, Freedom Professional Services and IKinetic Solutions — according to the indictment.
Plantenberg said in October that he co-founded but never owned two of the companies and transferred ownership of the third to a church in 2000.
“I know that all things happen for good, and my family is very well supported, and I’m a blessed person, and everything is going to be OK,” he said.
“This entire experience will make me a smarter, wiser, more humble person.”