It’s not uncommon for the IRS to have to do the law enforcement’s dirty work. Most famously, the Service brought down Al Capone when no one else had the gumption to get charges to stick. Despite a lifetime defined by corruption and murder, it was tax evasion that eventually did in the notorious gangster. The IRS put an end to Capone’s criminal career by sentencing him to Alcatraz, where he would live out the remainder of his prime racketeering days while slowly going insane from syphilis-related symptoms. Good times.
Fast forwarding to the present day, while a 92-year old retired school teacher would never be confused with a legendary criminal of Capone’s ilk, Sharlotte Hydorn shared one thing with Big Al: it again took the IRS to put an end to Hydorn’s immoral — if not illegal — activities.
Several years ago, Hydorn attracted the attention of federal investigators by selling suicide kits out of her home. Hardened by watching her husband die of colon cancer, Hydorn longed to give “the terminally ill the option to decide how to die.”
Law enforcement was posed with a bit of a conundrum; technically, there is no federal law prohibiting assisted suicide. It’s obviously a bit of a public risk to have a non-medical professional playing the role of a capitalist Grim Reaper, however, so investigators were eager to find a way to put a stop to Hydorn’s activities.
Their answer — as it often is — was found in Hydorn’s tax returns. Apparently, assisted suicide is big business, because although Hydorn admitted to selling over 1,300 kits nationwide — earning over $150,000 in the process — she failed to pay taxes on any of the income.
As a result, the IRS convicted Hydorn of tax evasion charges, and she was sentenced to five years supervised probation. As part of her plea deal, Hydorn will not be charged in state court for any of the assisted suicide kit sales.