September 22, 2009 / 7:49 PM / 10 years ago

U.S. golfer Jim Thorpe pleads guilty to tax evasion

Jim Thorpe watches his tee shot on the 17th hole of the Jeld-Wen Tradition golf tournament of the Champions Tour in Aloha, Oregon on August 28, 2003. REUTERS/Steve Dipaola

MIAMI (Reuters) - American golfer Jim Thorpe, a 13-time winner on the senior Champions Tour, pleaded guilty to tax evasion on Tuesday and faces up to two years in prison and a fine totaling more than $4 million, authorities said.

Thorpe, 60, of Heathrow, Florida, pleaded guilty to two counts of failure to pay income taxes for 2002, 2003 and 2004, a period when his income totaled about $5.4 million, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Orlando said.

It said a date for Thorpe’s sentencing would be set later.

A North Carolina native, Thorpe played more than 450 tournaments on the PGA Tour and won three times. He had three top 10 finishes in majors: two in the U.S. Open and one in the PGA Championship.

He has won 13 times, including one major, in more than 300 events on the Champions Tour, which features golfers 50 years of age and older.

Thorpe has more than $13 million in career earnings as a professional golfer, according to the PGA Tour website.

Reporting by Tom Brown; editing by Pascal Fletcher

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