Until recently, Juliet Bickford
reported the news as an anchor for WTKR News Channel 3
, the CBS affiliate in Norfolk, Virginia.
stopped reporting the news because she
eventually became the news (though her
own news channel did not cover the story).
was charged with a misdemeanor: filing a false tax return.
That's admittedly not much of a story.
But what makes it interesting is how Bickford
landed on the radar of the Internal Revenue Service
That misdemeanor charge grew out of an investigation into Bickford's finances after she
was linked - but never charged with any wrongdoing in the matter - to an international fraud scheme involving three Canadians, one of whom was Bickford's former boyfriend, Theodoros "Terry" Grontis.
met Grontis on a trip to the Bahamas in 2006.
It was one of a number of moves that reinforced the notion that Bickford
led a charmed life.
seemingly had it all: pretty, rich, and connected.
had a dream job.
Three years later, Grontis moved in with Bickford
While they lived together, Bickford
continued to report the news, drawing a hefty salary.
played along, making it possible for Grontis to live well.
claimed that she
allowed Grontis access to her
accounts because she
believed that he
couldn't get an account because he
was not a U.S. citizen - and he
had overstayed his
That lifestyle came to an end in 2011 when Bickford
received a call from the Internal Revenue Service
Grontis left Bickford
behind to face the music.
In exchange for her
information about the scheme, Bickford
took a plea to filing a false tax return for 2011.
claimed $14,241 in bogus medical expenses, including a $12,010 hot tub "for hydrotherapy."
To be clear, it's not illegal to claim a hot tub on your taxes.
You can deduct legitimate medical expenses related to the "costs of diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease, and the costs for treatments affecting any part or function of the body" (IRS Pub 502 downloads as a pdf).
That includes the costs of visits to the doctor and other medical professionals and also the "costs of equipment, supplies, and diagnostic devices needed for these purposes.
claimed that the tub was prescribed by her
chiropractor which might have qualified for the deduction assuming that it was used exclusively for medical purposes and not for personal reasons.
didn't produce a prescription but she
did offer a receipt.
The receipt, however, showed that Bickford's
mother, not Bickford
, paid for the hot tub.
That means that Bickford
was not entitled to the deduction - even if she
could prove that it was medically necessary.
By taking a plea, Bickford
will likely avoid any jail time.
Under the terms of her
plea agreement (downloads as a pdf), Bickford
must pony up $10,000 in restitution in addition to refiling her
taxes for the years 2010 and 2011, paying any associated tax due plus interest and penalty.
Despite all of the drama of the past few years, it seems that Bickford
will land on her
, er, questionable taste in men, she
found a new boyfriend in short order.
Last year, she
engagement on air.
An April 2014 wedding is planned but it likely won't be on the news - Bickford recently resigned her job as a news anchor for WTKR.