Singer-turned-businesswoman Claire Dela Fuente tagged as the Philippines’ Karen Carpenter.
She was sentenced to prison after being found guilty by the Court of Tax Appeals of seven counts of tax evasion.
The special court ruled that Dela Fuente failed for seven years to file the income tax returns.
De la Fuente, the operator of the Philippine Corinthian Liner Corp., was ordered by the court to pay a fine of P150,000.
The criminal case, filed by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) 10 years ago, arose from the non-filing of income tax returns for the years 1998 to 2004.
She meted one-year imprisonment for each of the seven counts of tax violation.
Dela Fuente denied the charges, saying her company started operations only in 2005.
But the court dismissed her claim when the BIR presented PCLC’s records filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Land Transportation Franchising Regulatory Board, and the Land Transportation Office.
According to the court, evidence showed the bus company was granted 19 franchises by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) from 1997 to 2004, and some buses were in fact apprehended by the Land Transportation Office (LTO).
The court also found out the defense presented fake documents supposedly showing they filed tax returns.
De la Fuente was held liable as a responsible officer despite her claim that her late husband transferred his shares to other shareholders and that she was merely a representative of PCLC during that period.
Known for her sweet voice, de la Fuente first became famous in the 1970s for her jukebox songs. She recorded a total of eight albums in her career and occasionally appears in public to perform.
In 2011, the government permanently canceled her bus company’s license to operate after it participated in a 2010 transport strike that left hundreds of commuters stranded in Metro Manila.