AUGUSTA — The state says Tracy Burke, 51, formerly of Plymouth, pretended to live outside Maine since 1988, using mailing addresses in New Hampshire, Maryland and Florida.

He registered his vehicles at various times in New Hampshire and even registered a snowmobile in Florida, according to the prosecutor’s sentencing memo, and did a number of other things to avoid paying income tax to the state of Maine.

On Tuesday, those actions caught up with Burke.

He was sentenced at the Capital Judicial Center to an initial 60 days in jail, with the remainder of the 364-day sentence suspended, and placed on administrative release for a year. He also was ordered to pay restitution of more than $70,000 to Maine Revenue Services. He already has paid an additional $55,000 in restitution.

Burke, who came to Maine from his current home in Norfolk, Virginia, for the sentencing hearing, read a statement to the judge: “I want to say I’m sorry to the court and to Maine Revenue Service for failing to pay my Maine income taxes. I regret my actions.”

He said he would continue to pay restitution but also told the judge that he is under another court order to pay his ex-wife $2,500 a month for the next four years.


Burke, a merchant mariner, previously had pleaded guilty to six counts each of intentional evasion of Maine income tax, failure to pay Maine income tax and five counts of failure to make and file a Maine income tax return. The charges span 2008 to 2013.

He also had agreed to pay taxes owed since 1988 even though the state could file criminal charges for only the past six years.

According to the memo by Assistant Attorney General Gregg Bernstein, “Almost from the very start after he graduated from Maine Maritime Academy in 1988, Mr. Burke took steps to pretend he did not reside in Maine.” Bernstein said Burke put a new Hampshire address on his U.S. Coast Guard license.

However, Bernstein said, Burke actually lived in Maine when he was on land.

“Over the past 25 years Mr. Burke’s actions showed what he was really doing — pretending to live elsewhere so that he could evade what other Mainers are required to do: pay income tax,” Bernstein said.

Bernstein’s memo says that from 2008 to 2013, Burke’s income averaged $90,774, and that his average income in the period from 1988 to 2007 was $60,000.


Burke’s defense attorney, Jay McCloskey, filed a memo as well, asking that the initial period of incarceration be brief to allow Burke to keep his job.

McCloskey said that Burke “is staggering under a mountain of debt” with other financial obligations in addition to the divorce decree and restitution owed Maine.

“He has a large credit card debt at an exorbitant interest rate that will take years to pay off,” he said.

McCloskey added, “Nonetheless, the defendant is lucky to have a job that pays well, that is land-side and is suited to his skills. If he is able to keep his present job, he should be able to meet his obligations outlined above.”

Justice Robert Mullen told Burke, “The sentence is really 364 days,” reminding him that he could serve the suspended portion if he committed new criminal conduct or failed to comply with restitution payments.

Mullen said the sentence was “a fair balance between meeting sentencing goals and at the same time recognizing what you’ve paid so far.”


Burke reported to Kennebec County jail immediately after the hearing.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams

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