A Casper businessman has pleaded guilty to one felony count of obstruction of the administration of Internal Revenue Service laws.

In accordance with a plea agreement with the tax division of the U.S. Department of Justice, Sonny Pilcher, who appeared in front U.S. Magistrate Kelly Rankin on Monday, admitted to claiming $258,000 of false bad debt on his 2008 tax return and paying his employees in cash in order to avoid paying employment taxes.

The offenses are alleged to have occurred between January 2007 and December 2009.

Pilcher faces a maximum penalty of three years in jail, one year of probation and a $100 special assessment fee.

Rankin ordered a pre-sentence investigation and set a sentencing date for Oct. 28 in front of District Court Judge Alan Johnson.

Pilcher is the owner of the Elevation Sports Bar and Grill and Racks Gentlemen's Club.

Amy Richards contributed to this story.

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