After years of well-orchestrated publicity and a high-profile arrest at a casino, a Modesto surgeon who once faced up to nine years in prison for felony tax evasion will walk away with just a misdemeanor for not paying his taxes on time.
Dr. Thomas Kaschak pleaded no contest to the misdemeanor charge and will go in front of a Stanislaus County judge next month to pay $58,804 in back taxes, plus penalties and interest.
Kaschak made the news in March when authorities plucked him from a Tahoe-area casino after he failed to show up for three court hearings in Modesto.
In late May, a judge declared a mistrial after a Stanislaus County jury couldn't decide if Kaschak was guilty of felony state income tax evasion for failing to pay $138,000 from 2000 to 2004 despite earnings of $1.6 million.
Kaschak's attorney, Frank Carson, said the case was merely 3½ years of legal "grandstanding" by Franchise Tax Board officials.
"It was all calculated to make an example out of him," Carson said. "It's just silly. ... The jury saw through it as far as I'm concerned. They wouldn't convict him."
Kaschak pleaded no contest to the misdemeanor charge and the felony counts were dismissed, Carson said. He will be on probation for five years, during which he must pay his taxes by the April 15 deadline, said tax board spokesman John Barrett.
"We take tax cheating very seriously and regularly bring cases of tax evasion and tax fraud to (district attorneys) up and down the state," Barrett said. "Tax cheating is not tolerated in the state of California."
Prosecutor Keith Lyon with the state attorney general's office told The Bee in May he planned to retry Kaschak in July on the felony tax charges. He did not respond to a request for comment Monday.
Kaschak, a self-employed orthopedic surgeon, has performed more than 1,100 procedures since 1996 while under contract at Memorial Medical Center, state officials said. He also operated a medical software service, Consolidated Practice Management Inc., and an office on 14th Street in downtown Modesto that since has closed, tax board officials said.
Kaschak told The Bee in 2007 that he cares for trauma patients who come through the emergency room at Memorial and sees patients in a clinic there. He said his routine is to work for a week at the hospital and then return to Nevada where he said he lives.
Kaschak is set to go before a Stanislaus County judge on Sept. 14 to pay his fines.
Bee staff writer Merrill Balassone can be reached at email@example.com or 578-2337.