CASSVILLE, Mo. — The owner of a water slide just outside Roaring River State Park south of Cassville pleaded guilty in federal court this week to one count of making a false tax return.

Jerry Don Beebe, 67, pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge David Rush on Monday. The announcement was made Tuesday by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of Missouri.

According to a statement from the U.S. attorney, Beebe was interested in selling his business and in the process met with an undercover federal agent, who was posing as a potential buyer, in October 2018 and again in June 2019.

"During the meetings, Beebe showed the undercover agent records documenting the business’ true gross receipts, which differed from what Beebe reported on his federal tax returns," the U.S. attorney's statement said. "Beebe’s records showed gross receipts of $135,282 for 2017 (when Beebe only reported $24,535 on his tax return) and gross receipts of $145,451 for 2018 (when Beebe only reported $29,172 on his tax return). Beebe told the undercover agent that he destroyed his records for 2015 and 2016, but stated he had gross receipts of at least $70,000 for each of these years."

Beebe also admitted to the undercover agent that he routinely destroyed his business records, and when showing the agent his 2017 and 2018 records, Beebe said he was “gun shy” and wouldn’t have these records much longer, the U.S. attorney's office said. Those records were recovered during the execution of search warrants at Beebe’s business and residence on July 18, 2019.

Under the terms of his plea agreement, Beebe must pay $70,824 in restitution to the federal government and the state of Missouri for $50,966 in unpaid federal taxes from 2015 to 2018, $6,626 in unpaid Missouri income taxes from 2015 to 2018, and $13,232 in unpaid Missouri sales taxes from 2015 to 2018.

He also is subject to a sentence of up to three years in federal prison without parole. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.

Just outside Roaring River State Park on Missouri Highway 112, the water slide has been a popular draw for many people camping, fishing and staying in the park. Beebe owned and operated the water slide for much of its 42-year history.

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