Offbeat Back to prison for former IndyCar driver Bill Whittington

17:30  11 october  2018
17:30  11 october  2018 Source:   indystar.com

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William ' Bill ' Whittington , the former owner of a Pagosa Springs resort and former professional race car driver , was sentenced to 18 months in prison for tax fraud. Bill Whittington was part of a three- driver team that won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1979. He also raced twice in NASCAR in 1980

Indy car driver Randy Lanier drove in the 1986 Indy 500 and won rookie of the year. IndyCar driver John Paul Jr. in 1983 (Photo: Associated Press). The racing industry fretted about its image. Lanier was released from prison after 27 years. Bill Whittington 's was the second longest sentence

a group of people in uniform: The Whittingtons, Don (left) and Bill (center) chat with actor/racer Paul Newman at Le Mans, 1979.© Bodini, Bodini, ASSOCIATED PRESS The Whittingtons, Don (left) and Bill (center) chat with actor/racer Paul Newman at Le Mans, 1979.

A former Indy car driver who served time in prison for his role in a marijuana smuggling operation is headed back behind bars for tax evasion.

Bill Whittington has been sentenced to 18 months in prison for filing a false tax return, the Department of Justice announced Tuesday.

From 2003 to 2010, Whittington failed to report $9.7 million in investment income generated through two offshore bank accounts in Liechtenstein, the Department of Justice said. The 68-year-old also underreported his income from a Colorado resort owned by his daughters. Whittington’s fraudulent conduct created a $1.8 million tax loss, the Department of Justice said.

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William Marvin " Bill " Whittington (born September 11, 1949) is an American racing driver from Lubbock, Texas who won the 1979 24 Hours of Le Mans together with his brother Don Whittington

Don Whittington charged up to a desk inside a gargantuan Fort Lauderdale warehouse built from blue corrugated metal. He was seething. "You're a bitch," he hissed at the receptionist. Then, the five-foot-11 Whittington

Whittington paid about $1.8 million in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service as a condition of his plea agreement.

As a race driver, Whittington had modest success at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He drove in the Indianapolis 500 from 1980 to 1985, with his best finish 14th. But in sports car racing he and his teammate and brother, Don, fared much better. In 1979 they were part of a three-driver team that won the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Bill Whittington also raced in the Daytona 500, as well as in several airplane races.

Bill Whittington previously served four years in prison after pleading guilty in March 1986 for his part in a multimillion-dollar, Colombia-to-South Florida marijuana smuggling ring. Bill admitted to heading the organization, which the DEA said took in some $73 million. Don helped invest the profits in legitimate businesses.

Don was sentenced to 18 months in prison. Bill got 15 years, serving four.

Bill Whittington lives in Scottsdale, Arizona. Previously he lived in Pagosa Springs, Colorado, where his daughters, until recently, owned a resort hotel called the Springs Resort & Spa.

More on the Whittingtons, and others: That time Indy 500 drivers were pot smugglers

Contact Star reporter Will Higgins at 317 444-6043. Follow him on Twitter @WillRHiggins.

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