Helio's Tax Indictment Has NASCAR Ties

Thursday afternoon, word came out that two-time Indianapolis 500 champion Helio Castroneves was facing an indictment of tax fraud charges in Florida for allegedly hiding $5 million in income.

Helio, along with his sister and his attorney Alan Miller, was called in to a courtroom Friday morning in the Sunshine State and he pleaded not guilty to a lot of charges that could put him in the slammer for a long time.

The folks in the courtroom must have seen Helio's fence-climbing techniques after winning races and had the guy in handcuffs, as well as chains around his ankles. I mean, come on, I know the guy is fast on a race track and a decent dancer, but I'm highly doubting he's much of a flight risk.

Anywho, Helio was released on bail of $10 million, but was ordered not to leave the country and could only travel for work -- meaning he will miss the upcoming non-points IndyCar event in Australia.

This situation, though, doesn't stop with the winged open-wheel cars because it turns out that Castroneves' attorney -- Alan Miller -- is the same guy who represents many, many NASCAR drivers including Jimmie Johnson and Casey Mears.
Johnson was definitely shocked to hear that his lawyer was in handcuffs in a Florida courtroom Friday morning, given that Miller has represented JJ since the racer was 15 years old. From the NASCAR Scene:

"At this time, Alan has been my attorney since I was 15, has been a great friend and has helped me with a lot of different things," Johnson said Friday. "As of now, everything is still the same.

"[I'm] learning a lot as time goes on here, and there's still a lot to be investigated and uncovered moving forward. I'm certainly keeping my eyes on the subject and trying to figure out what's all going on."

Johnson said he uses an outside group - not Miller - to help with his taxes and added he'll protect himself and his family if necessary. But Miller, he said, has never done anything untoward.

"Everything I've done with Alan, he has respected my thoughts and me as a driver as if he was a parent of some sort," Johnson said. "He's really done a phenomenal job for me...I've never seen anything out of character from him. I'm shocked. I know he's shocked, and as time goes on, we'll all learn and understand more."

I say I can totally understand where Johnson is coming from until, you know, we start talking about extraordinary incomes. (Yep, JJ's dream job is the role yours truly has. The perks are gre-..... ah who am I kidding. Johnson's tax bill is probably bigger than any number I've ever seen next to my name. Anyways...) I can imagine Johnson is just a little bit curious to see if what Castroneves is on the hook for has ever taken place within the accounting of his earnings, too.

Paying a big fine along with restitution is one thing, but when your livelyhood is on line because of charges threatening jail time, life can't be fun, nor can it be for people that have close ties to the financials of Helio.

Without a doubt, this case will be more than interesting.

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