Examples of Employment Tax Investigations - Fiscal Year 2013
The following examples of employment tax investigations are written from public record documents on file in the court records in the judicial district in which the cases were prosecuted.
North Carolina Businessman Sentenced for Tax Fraud
On September 30, 2013, in Greensboro, N.C., William Robert Hupman Jr., of Mebane, N.C., was sentenced to 17 months in prison, one year of supervised release and ordered to pay $103,420 in restitution to the IRS. Hupman pleaded guilty on May 31, 2013, to corruptly endeavoring to obstruct or impede the due administration of the Internal Revenue laws. According to court documents and court proceedings, Hupman managed and controlled Security Concepts LLC (SC), a security alarm company based in Mebane, N.C. Instead of receiving a salary from SC, Hupman received income by using an SC debit card to pay his expenses. Despite receiving over $770,000 in such fees between 2007 and 2011, Hupman has not filed an individual income tax return since tax year 2006. In addition to his failure to comply with his personal income tax responsibilities, Hupman failed to comply with his employment tax responsibilities at SC. Hupman was responsible for withholding employment taxes and paying them over to the IRS on a periodic basis. SC last paid over employment taxes and filed the required tax form for the third quarter of 2009, despite the fact that employment taxes were actually withheld from the wages of SC employees. Hupman did not pay employment taxes or file the required tax form for the fourth quarter of 2009 or any of the quarters in 2010 and 2011. He also has not paid the federal unemployment taxes owed or filed the required tax form for years 2009, 2010 or 2011.
Director of Ohio Non-Profit Sentenced for Tax Violations
On September 12, 2013, in Cleveland, Ohio, Edward G. Kramer was sentenced 12 months and one day in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $237,047 in restitution. Kramer pleaded guilty in June 2013 to filing a false income tax return, attempting to evade or defeat tax, and willful failure to collect or pay over tax. According to court documents, Kramer was director and chief counsel of Housing Advocates, Inc., a non-profit organization in Cleveland. He also maintained a private law practice and owned a property leasing business. Kramer was responsible for collecting, accounting for and paying over quarterly to the IRS income and FICA taxes on behalf of Housing Advocates, Inc. The organization deducted and collected the required taxes from the wages of its employees but Kramer willfully failed to pay over nearly $80,000 in the taxes collected from January 2009 until September 2010. In addition, Kramer under-reported his income for calendar years 2007 and 2008 by $180,833. He also failed to file income tax returns for 2009 and 2010, despite the fact that he had taxable income of approximately $149,884 in 2009 and $270,687 in 2010.
Michigan Business Owner Sentenced for Tax Evasion
On September 11, 2013, in Grand Rapids, Mich., George Adatsi, of Lansing, Mich., was sentenced to 18 months in prison, one year of supervised release and ordered to pay $208,406 in restitution and fines. Adatsi previously pleaded guilty to obstructing the IRS. According to court documents, Adatsi was the owner of two companies, Health Staffers, Inc. (HSI) and Health Staffers of Michigan, Inc. (HSMI) that employed nurses and home health aides who provided health care services in private homes and nursing homes. During the 2001 through 2003 tax years, Adatsi failed to pay over to the IRS the social security and FICA taxes withheld from the employees of HSI. From 2004 through 2008, Adatsi filed false Form 941 Quarterly Federal Tax Returns that under-reported HSMI’s gross wages paid to its employees and, consequently, under reported both the income taxes and FICA taxes withheld from the HSMI employees.
Colorado Woman Sentenced for Failure to Pay Employment Taxes
On September 11, 2013, in Denver, Colo., Beth Ann Pettyjohn, of Englewood, Colo., was sentenced to 28 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $4,669,532 in restitution to the IRS, as well as a $25,000 fine. According to court documents, Pettyjohn is the co-owner and vice president of Overhead Door Company of Denver (OHD). From September 2003 to June 2009, she stopped paying over the payroll taxes withheld from employee wages, as well as the matching portion of FICA, totaling almost $4.7 million owed to the IRS. Pettyjohn managed the accounting department at OHD and determined which bills were paid, and then issued and signed the related checks.
Two Corporate Executives Sentenced for Tax Evasion Scheme
On September 4, 2013, in Charleston, W.Va., Daniel Hovis, owner and president of Career Search One, Inc., was sentenced to 24 months in prison. Hovis, of Whittier, N.C., pleaded guilty in May 2013 for failing to pay trust fund taxes to the IRS. The corporation’s vice president and director of counseling, Janice Hensley, of Charleston, was sentenced to 20 months in prison. The defendants were also ordered to pay $630,158 in restitution. Hensley also pleaded guilty in May 2013 to federal tax evasion. According to court records, from 2004 through the first quarter of 2010, Hovis and Hensley withheld trust fund taxes from many employees’ paychecks. The trust fund taxes were monies that were owed to the IRS. Trust fund taxes are withheld federal income and Federal Insurance Contribution Act (FICA) taxes, which also include Social Security and Medicare taxes. Career Search One, Inc. only partially paid these taxes. From 2004 through the first quarter of 2010, Hovis and Hensley failed to report and pay over approximately $630,158 in trust fund taxes to the IRS on behalf of Career Search One, Inc.’s employees. Instead, Hovis and Hensley used the monies for personal expenses.
Shoe Store Chain Owner Sentenced for Tax Fraud Conspiracy
On August 29, 2013, in Philadelphia, Pa., Uri Jacobson was sentenced to 30 months in prison, one year of supervised release and ordered to pay $1,263,000 in restitution to the IRS for a tax fraud conspiracy that involved paying employees under the table and filing false tax returns. Jacobson, the co-owner of 12 shoe and discount stores, employed more than 200 people in Pennsylvania and New Jersey including Elena Falaschetti who was a store manager and was indicted with Jacobson. Falaschetti was sentenced on May 20, 2013 to six months of home confinement. According to court documents, between 2003 and 2009, Jacobson caused his office employees to falsely report salary, hours, and/or wages per hour for certain employees to the company’s payroll service. Jacobson’s own corporate records show that between 2004 and approximately September 2009, a total of approximately $2,787,640 in gross wages were paid out which were not reported to the IRS and from which federal income taxes and social security and Medicare taxes were not withheld and paid to the IRS. Jacobson’s failure to withhold and pay over his employees full federal taxes, and his failure to pay his employer’s matching share of the Social Security and Medicare taxes, caused a tax loss of approximately $596,628. Jacobson, who pleaded guilty on September 5, 2012, filed false tax returns for 2004, 2006, 2007, and 2008 and failed to file a personal income tax return for 2005, under-reporting his income by approximately $700,000. Falaschetti, who also pleaded guilty on September 5, 2012, filed false personal income tax returns for tax years 2006 through 2009, under-reporting her income by approximately $121,000.
California Business Owner Sentenced for Tax Fraud
On August 26, 2013, in Los Angeles, Calif., Scott G. Titus, owner and operator of Scott Titus Painting, was sentenced to 18 months in prison and ordered to pay $666,748 in restitution. In April 2013, Titus pleaded guilty to count one of an Information charging him with subscribing to a false quarterly employment tax return for 2008. According to the plea agreement, during the years 2008 through 2010, Titus painted residential and commercial properties and was paid by his clients in both cash and checks. Titus used the cash payments received from clients, along with cash derived from cashing checks and cash withdrawals from his business bank account, to pay his employees their wages in 2008, 2009 and 2010. For those years, Titus failed to report $1,594,971 in wages paid to the employees of Scott Titus Painting on the quarterly and annual employment tax returns filed with the IRS resulting in a tax loss of at least $666,748.
Ohio Businessman Sentenced for Falsifying Income Tax Returns
On August 7, 2013, in Cleveland, Ohio, Richard A. Zakarian, of Vermilion, Ohio, was sentenced to 210 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $4,490,300 in restitution to his victims. Zakarian pleaded guilty in May 2013 to wire fraud, mail fraud and falsifying income tax returns. Zakarian was a certified financial planner and a self-employed tax preparer. According to court documents, from September 2002 through August 2012, Zakarian defrauded clients telling them their investment funds were placed in safe, guaranteed-return investments when, in fact, he diverted the funds to pay personal and business expenses as well as fund investments. While some received a return on part or all of their investment, 23 clients incurred combined losses of more than $1 million. Until mid-2009, Zakarian obtained use of client’s funds by placing their investments with companies offering self-directed IRA services, and then having those companies transfer the funds to him as investments in promissory notes he issued. Zakarian initially issued the notes as Zakarian Tax Consultants, but later used a shell real estate company, Viewcrest Properties. Court documents showed that Zakarian began a payroll tax scheme in 2010 that continued through August 2012. He induced clients to retain Ben Franklin Payroll Service, which he owned and operated, and then he failed to file many of the returns and diverted substantial portions of the clients’ funds for his own use. Later in 2010, Zakarian developed a “grant” program for non-profits with the objective of gaining access to their operating accounts. Zakarian marketed Ben Franklin Payroll Service as an affiliate of Zakarian Charities and the Benjamin Franklin Foundation. He offered payroll grants from the foundation to non-profit organizations to cover two years of free payroll service through Ben Franklin Payroll Service. Instead of forwarding the monies withdrawn from the client’s accounts directly to taxing authorities, Zakarian had his employees to transfer the tax funds into a Ben Franklin Payroll Service operating account. Clients were then sent false quarterly employment tax returns and payroll summaries, giving the false impression that their payroll taxes were paid. In total, Ben Franklin had at least 72 clients who incurred combined losses of more than $3.4 million from the fraudulent diversion of their employment tax funds. Zakarian also filed false federal income returns for the years 2006 through 2009, failing to report the income he received from the investment scheme. On the 2006 and 2007 returns, Zakarian also falsely claimed substantial losses on the investments he made with the fraudulently obtained client funds, and used those losses to offset other income he earned those years.
Arkansas Businessman Sentenced for Failing to Pay Federal Income Taxes
On August 1, 2013, in Fayetteville, Ark., Dennis H. Nooner was sentenced to 30 months in prison, three years of supervised release, ordered to pay a $50,000 fine and restitution of $407,353. On December 5, 2012, Nooner pleaded guilty to two counts of failing to pay taxes. According to court documents, from 2007 through 2011, Nooner served as co-owner and the managing member of two assisted living facilities in Mississippi. As a managing member, Nooner had the duty and corporate responsibility to collect, account for, and pay the assisted living facilities’ payroll taxes. The funds were withheld from employees’ paychecks, but Nooner used the money for his personal benefit rather than paying the income tax over to the IRS. Nooner failed to pay a total of $407,354 in employment taxes that had been withheld from the employees’ paychecks.
Nebraska Couple Sentenced for Failing to Pay Employment Taxes
On July 30, 2013, in Lincoln, Neb., Michael and Laurie Russell, of Hickman, Neb., were sentenced for failing to pay employment taxes in 2006. Michael Russell was sentenced to 16 months in prison and three years of supervised release. Laurie Russell was sentenced to six months in prison and six months of house arrest as a condition of three years of supervised release. The Russells were also jointly ordered to pay $311,486 in restitution to the IRS. According to court documents, the Russells jointly owned and operated a window installation business, North Country Windows. In 2006 they were withholding income and FICA taxes from employee paychecks, but paid none of it to the IRS.
Pennsylvania Businessman Sentenced for Tax Evasion
On July 24, 2013, in Pittsburgh, Pa., Richard D. Edwards, of Monroeville, Pa., was sentenced to 18 months in prison and three years of supervised release. Edwards pleaded guilty to three counts of failure to pay over tax. According to court documents, Edwards was the sole owner of the home improvement company Custom Patio Rooms. In 2006, 2007, and 2008, Edwards failed to pay over to the IRS the federal income taxes withheld from his employees and the Federal Insurance Contributions Act taxes due and owing.
Former Owner of Employee Leasing Company Sentenced for Failing to Pay Payroll Taxes to the IRS
On July 18, 2013, Salt Lake City, Utah, Richard R. Whatley, a former owner of Alliance Staffing Management Inc. (ASM), was sentenced to 51 months in prison and ordered to pay $541,513 in restitution to the IRS. Whatley pleaded guilty in January 2013 to willfully failing to account for and pay over employment taxes. In January 2010, a federal grand jury charged Whatley with five counts of willfully failing to account for and pay over employment taxes, relating to three different employee leasing companies that he allegedly operated and controlled between the years 2001 and 2006. The tax loss associated with Whatley’s criminal conduct during these years totaled more than $2.3 million. According to the plea agreement, during the 2002 through 2004 tax years, Whatley held an ownership interest in and had the ability to control the finances of ASM, an employee leasing company. Whatley’s control included determining the amount of employment taxes that had to be paid over to the IRS and the authority to decide which bills would be paid and which bills would not be paid. As charged in the superseding indictment, in the fourth tax quarter of 2003, Whatley caused the collection of employment taxes from ASM’s employees’ wages and then willfully failed to pay over $541,513 for the employees’ portion of employment taxes to the IRS.
Pennsylvania Man Sentenced for Theft from Employee Benefit Plan and Tax Fraud
On July 17, 2013, in Scranton, Pa., Charles Yaskulski, of Nicholson, Pa., was sentenced to 17 months in prison, two years of supervised release, and ordered to pay $548,768 in restitution. Yaskulski was convicted of theft from an employee benefit plan and failure to file an income tax return. According to court documents, Yaskulski was the former president and majority shareholder of Eagle Warranty Corporation which marketed and sold used car warranty policies to customers in twelve states nationwide. Eagle Warranty also established a profit sharing plan, whereby company employees could make payroll-funded contributions to a company-sponsored 401(k) retirement plan. Yaskulski previously admitted to the theft of approximately $16,000 from the retirement plan in 2008 and 2009. Yaskulski also failed to file employer’s quarterly federal tax returns for Eagle Warranty for each tax quarter in 2009.
Arkansas Businessman Sentenced for Failing to Pay Federal Income Taxes
On July 1, 2013, in Fort Smith, Ark., George Avlos was sentenced to 30 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $291,760 in restitution to the IRS. Avlos pleaded guilty on February 27, 2013 to failing to file a federal tax return and failing to pay employment taxes. According to court documents, Avlos was the sole owner and president of LinLex Inc., a company that provided consulting services concerning Department of Transportation regulations. Avlos was responsible for collecting, accounting for, and paying over LinLex’s payroll taxes. During 2007 and 2008, LinLex withheld payroll taxes from its employees’ paychecks but failed to make payments to the IRS. LinLex failed to account for and pay over a total of approximately $109,543 in payroll taxes. In addition, Avlos failed to file a personal income tax return for 2006, a year in which he had an income of approximately $199,489.
South Carolina Man Sentenced for Tax Evasion and Employing Illegal Aliens
On June 24, 2013 in Columbia, S.C., Ji Duan Fang, of Hanahan, S.C., was sentenced to 12 months in prison, six months in a community corrections center, and three years of supervised release for failure to pay employment taxes and harboring illegal aliens. According to court documents, Fang owned and operated Jade China Buffet, a restaurant in North Charleston, and he knowingly hired at least 14 illegal aliens to work at the restaurant. From 2008 through 2011, Fang paid the illegal alien employees in cash and did not collect or pay employment taxes for these employees. Fang’s failure to collect and pay the employment taxes for the illegal alien employees resulted in $212,225 in unpaid taxes.
California Resident Sentenced for Employment Tax Evasion Scheme
On June 24, 2013, in Los Angeles, Calif., Jason M. Harvey, formerly of Yorba Linda, Calif., was sentenced to 24 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $11,738,000 in restitution for aiding in the evasion of payment of federal payroll taxes. According to his plea agreement, Harvey, was identified as the legal owner of several payroll processing companies including Advanced Business Payroll, Inc., Global Business Outsource Solutions, Inc., and Global Consulting, Inc. He was responsible for filing correct payroll tax returns, collecting payroll tax and remitting payroll tax withheld from employees of the client’s businesses to the IRS and State of California. During the period January 1, 2004 through December 31, 2006, Harvey failed to pay over $10 million in payroll taxes that were actually due by the Global companies for the wages paid to employees, and failed to file some of the payroll tax returns required to be filed with the IRS. On February 4, 2013 Michael Harvey, Jason Harvey’s father, was sentenced to 30 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $15,177,106 in restitution. Michael Harvey, pleaded guilty to evading payment of over $15 million to the IRS, admitting that he caused the companies to not honor the levies, and aided Jason Harvey to cause those companies to not honor the IRS levies. Another co-defendant Denise Browning was sentenced to 42 months in prison and one year of supervised release after being found guilty of two counts of aiding and assisting in the preparation of false payroll tax returns.
Payroll Company Owner Sentenced in Tax Case
On June 21, 2013, in Cincinnati, Ohio, Robert Sacco was sentenced to 78 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $26,729,098 in restitution jointly with another defendant. Sacco pleaded guilty on October 26, 2012 to one count each of conspiracy to defraud the United States by impeding the IRS, money laundering and tax evasion. According to court documents, Sacco was the owner and chairman of the board of Paysource, a Dayton-based professional employer organization which provided services that enabled business owners to cost-effectively outsource the management of human resources, employee benefits, payroll and workers’ compensation and other strategic services. Sacco and others conspired to avoid the payment of federal employment taxes owed by Paysource for 2007 through 2009 and concealed from the IRS the legitimate tax liabilities the company owed. Sacco directed co-conspirators to prepare fraudulent IRS forms claiming that the wages paid by the company and the resulting tax liabilities were significantly lower than the wages the company actually paid.
Former Toy Company Owner Sentenced for Failure to Pay Employment Taxes
On June 12, 2013, in St. Paul, Minn., Kim Robert Calkins, of Eden Prairie, Minn., was sentenced to 12 months and one day in prison for failure to pay federal employment taxes. Calkins pleaded guilty on September 26, 2012. In his plea agreement, Calkins admitted that from the third quarter of 2008 to the final quarter of 2010, he failed to pay to the IRS the employment taxes withheld from employees of Princess Soft Toys. Despite receiving regular notices that the employment taxes were still due, Calkins neglected to pay the amount owed. The total tax loss in this case is $852,361.
Tennessee Man Sentenced on Tax Evasion Charges
On June 3, 2013, in Greeneville, Tenn., Paul Adams, of Kingsport, Tenn., was sentenced to 36 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $2,535,745 in restitution. According to court documents, Adams formed a professional employer organization, employing 500 employees for 23 client companies. Adams performed clerical services for the 23 companies, including withholding federal payroll taxes and filing federal payroll tax returns. During a 17-month period, Adams calculated and collected the correct amount of withholding and payroll taxes, but reported and paid a much smaller number to the Internal Revenue Service and the Social Security Administration. Adams pocketed more than $2.5 million paid by his client companies and the employees.
Former Owner of Oklahoma Pool Company Sentenced for Tax Fraud
On May 28, 2013, in Oklahoma City, Okla., Theodore Michael Zachritz, of Nichols Hills, Okla., was sentenced to 18 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $461,363 in restitution to the IRS. Zachritz pleaded guilty in January 2013 to one count of willfully failing to collect and pay over to the IRS federal income taxes. According to court documents, Zachritz and his wife owned and operated Lifestyle Pools, LLC in Oklahoma City. As owner of the company, Zachritz deducted and withheld more than $290,000 in federal income taxes, Social Security taxes, and Medicare taxes from the wages of Lifestyle Pools employees. Zachritz failed to pay those taxes to the IRS.
Oklahoma Bookkeeper Sentenced for Embezzlement and Tax Evasion
On May 6, 2013, in Oklahoma City, Okla., Carolyn Dawson was sentenced to 24 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $1,843,674 in restitution for embezzlement and evading federal payroll taxes. According to court documents, Dawson worked as a bookkeeper for a wholesaler of greenhouse supplies where she maintained payroll, prepared payroll tax returns, and paid withheld taxes to the IRS. From January 2007 through November 2011, Dawson defrauded the business by paying personal credit card expenses from the business bank account. Dawson also evaded federal payroll taxes by failing to file a 2010 payroll tax return for the company, failing to make payroll withholding payments to the IRS, and altering the books and records of the company to conceal her failure to make withholding payments.
Comptroller of New York Payroll Services Company Sentenced for $20 Million Fraud
On April 12, 2013, in Sacramento, Calif., Kerry Seaman, of Lake Ronkonkoma, N.Y., was sentenced to 44 months in prison and ordered to pay $19,141,618 in restitution. Seaman pleaded guilty on November 19, 2010 to wire fraud. According to court documents, Seaman was the comptroller for Ingentra HR Services Inc., a payroll services corporation in Hauppauge, N.Y. Ingentra, then known as Humanic Solutions Inc, was hired by Sacramento County in late 2004 to process the payrolls for Sacramento County’s Special Districts. As part of the payroll services, Ingentra calculated the tax payments for the clients and the clients’ employees and then transmitted the payments to the state and federal tax authorities. Ingentra was responsible for paying the income tax withholdings to the IRS and to file the Employer’s Quarterly Federal Tax Form (Form 941) with the IRS on behalf of the clients. From 2005 until April 2010, Seaman and co-defendant Albert Cipoletti defrauded the County of Sacramento Special Districts and two other companies of the tax withholdings intended to be paid to the IRS. Ingentra collected the correct amount from the clients but underreported to the IRS the amount owed, and diverted the difference to Ingentra’s operating account for Ingentra’s own use. Cipoletti and Seaman sent funding letters to the clients that correctly calculated payroll and federal tax withholdings for the clients’ employees, and the clients wire transferred funds to Ingentra to pay both the payroll and taxes. Cipoletti and Seaman then filed false Forms 941 with the IRS, understating the true employee tax withholdings for these clients. Cipoletti and Seaman wrongfully diverted in excess of $20 million in tax withholdings from the clients that should have been remitted to the IRS on behalf of the clients and the clients’ employees. Cipoletti was sentenced in May 2011 to 78 months in prison and ordered to pay $19,141,618 in restitution.
Kentucky Man Sentenced for Attempting to Evade Paying Taxes and Wire Fraud
On April 12, 2013, in Lexington, Ky., David Byron was sentenced to 41 months in prison and ordered to pay $688,530 in restitution for wire fraud and attempting to evade paying taxes. According to court documents, Byron admitted that from 2006 through April 2010 he devised a scheme to defraud at least seven clients of his bookkeeping business. Byron told the clients he would facilitate payment of their taxes owed to the IRS and other state and federal government agencies. In reality, Byron wired money from their bank accounts to his bank account and used the money to supplement his lifestyle.
Missouri Business Owner Sentenced for Failing to Pay Taxes
On April 11, 2013, in Springfield, Mo., Paul Ray Rose Jr., of Highlandville, Mo., was sentenced to 27 months in prison and ordered to pay $586,739 in restitution to the IRS. On November 26, 2012, Rose pleaded guilty to two counts of failing to pay taxes. Rose owned and operated Highlandville-based Newby Enterprises, dba J.B. Enterprises, Inc. According to court documents, from 2006 to 2009, Rose withheld a total of $37,521 in employment taxes from his employees’ paychecks, but willfully failed to pay over the taxes to the IRS. Rose also failed to file individual income tax returns from 2006 to 2009, thereby failing to report income earned from his business. Based on more than $3.2 million in gross revenues and more than $1.7 million in gross profit for the years 2006 through 2009, Rose owed the IRS $375,631 in unpaid income tax.
North Carolina Couple Sentenced for Tax Fraud Conspiracy and Health Care Fraud
On April 10, 2013, in Greenville, N.C., John Curtis Alspaugh was sentenced to 40 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $1,614,003 in restitution. Helen Blue Alspaugh was sentenced to 18 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $1,392,115 in restitution. On January 8, 2013, the Alspaughs pleaded guilty to one count of tax fraud conspiracy and John Alspaugh also pleaded guilty to one count of health care fraud. According to court documents, John and Helen Alspaugh formed Basic Home Health Care, Inc., a home health care business located in Dunn, N.C. Basic Home Health Care, Inc. provided personal care services to people who were homebound and needed assistance with their activities of daily living and instrumental activities of daily living. The Alspaughs collected employment taxes from employees and failed to pay over the taxes to the IRS, resulting in a tax liability in excess of one million dollars for the tax periods beginning in March 2003 and ending in December 2010.
Businessman Sentenced for Failure to Pay Payroll Taxes and Bank Fraud
On April 4, 2013, in Columbus, Ohio, Robert Jeffrey Johnson was sentenced to 15 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $1,334,052 in restitution to the IRS and $252,500 in restitution to the victim financial institution. Johnson pleaded guilty on September 27, 2012 to failure to pay employee payroll taxes, bank fraud and concealing documents in a bankruptcy proceeding. According to court documents, Johnson, president of Smith & Johnson Construction Company, borrowed $20 million from lenders in 2004 and 2005 to fund company operations. However, during 2004 and 2005, Johnson used his position at Smith & Johnson to have about $7 million transferred to him and to business entities controlled by him. Part of Johnson’s scheme included securing a line of credit to pay off any outstanding accounts and the end of the fiscal year to make it appear that he, or business entities he controlled, owed no money to Smith & Johnson. Johnson also purchased vehicles with funds provided by Smith & Johnson, then sold the vehicles and had the proceeds sent to himself or his representative. When the construction company filed for bankruptcy in 2006, Johnson filed false documents, failed to submit all financial records and hid assets from the bankruptcy trustee. In addition, Johnson defrauded the IRS in the amount of $156,008 in the first quarter of 2006 by withholding funds from employees’ paychecks for taxes and failing to pay the funds to the IRS.
Ohio Business Owner Sentenced for Employment Tax Fraud
On April 3, 2013, in Columbus, Ohio, Charles E. Watts Jr., of Jeffersonville, Ohio, was sentenced to 12 months and one day in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $1,443,048 in restitution to the IRS. Watts pleaded guilty on November 2, 2011 to attempting to evade and defeat the payment of employment taxes. According to court documents, from 1998 through 2008, Watts was the owner and operator of Dimensional Construction, T&R Electric Works, Watts Electric Co., and Watts Electric Company of Ohio, LLC. Beginning in the fourth quarter of 2004, Watts evaded $1,443,048 in employment taxes for 12 tax periods. Watts used a substantial portion of the funds to purchase numerous assets and pay other personal expenses. During 2004, Watts evaded paying employment taxes by establishing a business name, operating under that name, incurring employment tax obligations, then terminating the business only to establish another one under a different name and Employer Identification Number. Watts opened several business bank accounts utilizing these various business names, and used those accounts to funnel employees’ withholdings from account to account in order to elude IRS Collections’ efforts. In addition, Watts established a shell company, Valley Construction & Property, Inc., and used the company bank account to pay personal living expenses and to purchase major assets. Watts placed multiple assets in the name of Valley Construction & Property, Inc. in order to disguise the fact that he was the true owner of these assets. Watts also recruited several individuals who helped him conceal various assets from the IRS by placing them in their own name. These assets included real estate, luxury vehicles, and a pleasure boat.
Husband and Wife Sentenced for Various Tax Crimes
On March 25, 2013, in Houston, Texas, James R. Dixon was sentenced to 33 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $1,397,511 in restitution. On February 27, 2013, Sharon C. Dixon was sentenced to 11 months in prison and ordered to pay $183,801 in restitution. The Dixons both pleaded guilty in October 2012. James Dixon pleaded guilty to one count of tax evasion. Sharon Dixon pleaded guilty to two counts of willfully failing to file tax returns. According to court documents, the Dixons owe $890,000 in individual income taxes from their 2005 through 2008 income tax years, plus more than $700,000 in unpaid employment taxes of a company for which James Dixon had the duty to pay over to the IRS.
New York Tax Preparer Sentenced for Tax Evasion and Bank Fraud
On February 13, 2013, in Buffalo, N.Y, Vincent P. Mangione, of North Tonawanda, N.Y., was sentenced to 30 months in prison and three years of supervised release for tax evasion and bank fraud. He was also ordered to pay more than $800,000 in restitution. According to court documents, Mangione operated MTS Payroll and Mil-Sher Tax Services, Inc. The companies provided payroll services and bookkeeping and tax preparation for individuals and businesses. Between December 2002 and April 2007, Mangione, without the knowledge of the businesses he represented, filed fraudulent quarterly federal tax returns. In order to avoid detection, the defendant obtained the actual amount of withholding tax the businesses owed to the IRS. Mangione then filed a false quarterly tax return that under-represented the amount owed to the IRS and kept the difference for his own benefit.
Owner of Japanese Restaurant Sentenced for Tax Crimes
On January 30, 2013, in San Francisco, Calif., Michael Chen, the owner of Fune Ya Japanese Restaurant, was sentenced to 33 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $459,105 in restitution. Chen was convicted by a jury on March 27, 2012, on filing false tax returns, failure to file tax returns, and mail fraud. A federal jury found that Chen filed a false 2004 U.S. income tax return for an S Corporation (Form 1120S) for his restaurant, failed to file corporate income tax returns for the restaurant for 2005 and 2006 and filed nine false employer’s quarterly federal tax returns (Forms 941) with the IRS. He used the U.S. mail to file nine false quarterly sales and use tax returns with the California Board of Equalization. Evidence at trial showed that Chen maintained detailed records of Fune Ya’s daily receipts in twenty-six boxes marked “Seasoned Octopus.” The boxes were stored in a crawl space beneath the restaurant floor. The cash sales shown on Fune Ya’s receipts were not reported to the IRS. The evidence also showed that Chen maintained an encrypted Excel spreadsheet documenting $1,910,803 in sales, while he reported $450,165 in sales to the California Board of Equalization, and $65,738 in sales to the IRS. Chen also paid Fune Ya employees cash wages totaling $548,919 for the 2004 through 2006 tax years. Employees received cash wages in white envelopes each payday. Chen failed to include these cash wages on the quarterly payroll tax returns (Forms 941) filed with the IRS.
Owner of Maryland Business Sentenced for Failing to Pay Employment Taxes
On January 23, 2013, in Greenbelt, Md., Alphonso Tillman, of Fort Washington, Maryland, was sentenced to 24 months in prison and three years of supervised release, for failing to account for and pay over employment taxes. Tillman was also ordered to pay restitution of $2,205,991. According to his plea agreement, Tillman was the president and sole owner of Remote Surveillance Technology Solutions, Inc. (RSTS), and its successor, Remote Surveillance Technology Services, LLC, (RSTServ). The companies were headquartered in Landover, Maryland, and provided security guards to protect commercial and residential properties in Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania and the District of Columbia. RSTS and RSTServ withheld taxes from their employees’ paychecks, which the companies were required to pay over to the IRS on a periodic basis. Tillman failed to file the required forms or pay the payroll taxes due for RSTS and RSTServ, with the exception of payments made by RSTS to the IRS because of IRS collection efforts. The total amount of tax loss resulting from Tillman’s failure to pay taxes owed by RSTS and RSTServ is $2,205,991.
CEO and CFO of Assisted Living Facility Chain Sentenced for Tax Fraud
On January 16, 2013, in Wilmington, N.C., Ronald E. Burrell, former chief executive officer (CEO) of Caremerica Inc., and Michael R. Elliott, former chief financial officer (CFO) of Caremerica Inc., were each sentenced to 60 months in prison and ordered to pay over $4.8 million in restitution. Burrell, of Wilmington, N.C., pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the IRS on January 3, 2012. Elliott, of Loris, S.C., pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the IRS on July 18, 2012. According to court documents, Burrell and Elliott co-owned and operated a chain of assisted living facilities in North and South Carolina. Burrell and Elliott were the corporate officers responsible for ensuring that the Caremerica companies collected, reported and paid over federal employment taxes to the IRS. The Caremerica companies accrued more than $4.5 million in employment tax liabilities between approximately 2003 and 2006. Burrell and Elliott filed, or caused to be filed, false IRS forms that reported full payment of the employment taxes due, when in fact only a small fraction of the taxes, or none at all, were paid. Additionally, Burrell and Elliott took active steps to conceal information from the IRS, specifically, the sale proceeds of a company in which they owned a majority interest. As a result of his concealment efforts, Burrell deceived the IRS into accepting a $29,000 settlement on a $300,000 personal tax liability and opened another assisted living facility with the proceeds. Burrell and Elliott then filed false 2005 federal income tax returns that failed to report the proceeds. Elliott and Burrell also obstructed justice by making false statements under oath in bankruptcy proceedings and in IRS disclosure forms.
Former Owner of Xpress Flex, Inc. and Payroll America, Inc. Sentenced for Fraud and Filing a False Tax Return
On January 9, 2013, in Boise, Idaho, Michael Wayne Davis, II, of Raleigh, North Carolina, formerly of Eagle, Idaho, was sentenced to 51 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $954,640 in restitution to Xpress Flex victims and $45,290 to the IRS for the tax loss. Davis pleaded guilty on September 10, 2012 to wire fraud and filing a false tax return. According to court documents, in 2009 and 2010, Davis owned and operated Xpress Flex, Inc., a Boise, Idaho, company that administered, on behalf of employer-clients, flexible benefits plans for tax-free, qualified benefits, such as health care and dependent care. Xpress Flex received monetary contributions from its employer-clients of pre-tax withholdings from their employees’ paychecks. According to court documents, Davis misappropriated $954,640 of Xpress Flex client funds and used them to pay personal credit card charges and the business expenses of his other company, Payroll America, Inc. Court documents also showed that from 1994 through 2009, Davis owned and operated Payroll America in Boise, Idaho. Payroll America provided payroll administration and payroll tax filing services to its employer-clients. Pursuant to contract documents, employer-clients would deposit sufficient funds with Payroll America to meet their payroll and payroll tax obligations, which Payroll America would pay when they came due. According to court documents, in March and April 2007, Davis misappropriated $2 million of Payroll America employer-client funds, wired them into his E*Trade brokerage account, and then invested the funds in the stock market. Davis’ E*Trade investments generated approximately $192,436 in capital gains income. According to court documents, Davis wired this money into his and his wife’s personal checking account. The wire transfer was annotated “E-Trade Gains.” However, Davis intentionally failed to report capital gains income from E*Trade investments on his 2007 or 2008 tax returns, causing a tax loss of $45,290.
Wisconsin Woman Sentenced for Failure to Pay Federal Payroll Taxes
On January 4, 2013, Lisa Bartz Vanden Elzen, of DePere, Wis., was sentenced to 12 months and one day in prison for failing to pay federal payroll taxes over to the Internal Revenue Service. According to court records, during the period from July 2005 through December 2010, Bartz Vanden Elzen failed to pay more than $193,000 in payroll taxes withheld from the wages of employees of Dairy Transport and also failed to pay to the IRS the employer’s matching share of these payroll taxes, which totaled $81,000. Bartz Vanden Elzen is required to make full restitution to the IRS in the amount of approximately $274,000.
Operator of Payroll Companies Sentenced for Fraud and Money Laundering Crimes
On January 3, 2013, in Greensboro, N.C., Arthur S. Weiss, of Winston-Salem, N.C., was sentenced to 185 months in prison for employment tax fraud and other crimes. Weiss was also ordered to pay more than $7 million in restitution to numerous victims, including the IRS, the North Carolina Department of Revenue, and former clients. Weiss pleaded guilty to charges of wire fraud, bank fraud, money laundering, and tax obstruction on October 5, 2012. According to court documents, Weiss operated professional employer organizations, which provided payroll-related services to client companies. For his client companies, Weiss agreed to pay the employees, withhold and remit federal and state taxes, prepare and file the federal and state employment tax returns, and provide workers compensation insurance (WCI). Weiss did pay the employees and withheld the employment taxes, but he failed to remit the employment taxes, keeping them for his personal use. From 2004 to 2012, Weiss failed to file employment tax returns and failed to pay over to the IRS employment taxes in excess of $4 million. According to court documents, Weiss used a portion of his fraud proceeds to purchase expensive jewelry and cars.
World Health Alternatives CEO Sentenced for $41 Million Fraud Scheme
On December 4, 2012, in Pittsburgh, Pa., Richard E. McDonald was sentenced to 130 months in prison and three years of supervised release. McDonald pleaded guilty in April 2012 to charges of wire fraud, securities fraud, willful certification of false statements to SEC, failure to pay over payroll taxes, and income tax evasion. According to information presented to the court, in 2003, McDonald became the President, Principal Financial Officer, Principal Accounting Officer and Chairman of the Board of Directors of World Health Alternatives, Inc. (WHA). Around June 2004, McDonald also became the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of WHA. Between February 2003 through August 15, 2005, McDonald defrauded WHA and its investors. He transferred funds from WHA to his personal bank account and other accounts under his control. McDonald also manipulated the financial records and statements of WHA by understating the amount of unpaid payroll taxes of WHA and its subsidiaries, and by overstating the amount of loans purportedly made by him to WHA. In addition, McDonald stole money from WHA by directing purchasers of newly issued shares to transfer the funds for the shares to accounts under McDonald’s control. McDonald stole approximately $6 million, and then spent the money on himself. In his capacity as CEO of WHA, in WHA’s financial statements, McDonald understated the actual number of outstanding WHA shares. This was a false representation to the SEC, WHA shareholders, and prospective purchasers of WHA stock. The fraudulent understatements of the number of outstanding WHA shares falsely overstated WHA’s earnings per share, and thereby inflated the apparent market value of WHA stock. As a result of McDonald’s fraudulent conduct, WHA shareholders lost $41 million. McDonald also failed to report the funds he had fraudulently obtained from WHA and its shareholders on his personal tax returns. Finally, McDonald failed to pay over to the IRS the payroll taxes which WHA had withheld from its employees.
Ohio Businessman Sentenced for Employment Tax Fraud
On November 30, 2012, in Cincinnati, Ohio, Charles C. Painter, of Dayton, Ohio, was sentenced to 15 months in prison and ordered to pay $11,802,748 in restitution. On February 17, 2012, Painter pleaded guilty to tax fraud. According to court documents, Painter was employed as the Chief Executive Officer and President of Paysource, Inc., a payroll company. Painter willfully aided and assisted in the preparation and filing of a false corporate income tax return with the IRS for the third quarter of 2007. The tax return fraudulently stated that the total wages Paysource II, Inc. paid to employees was $2,441,566 and as a result, Paysource II, Inc. incurred an employment tax liability of $603,532. Paysource II, Inc. actually paid $6,630,667 in total wages to its employees and incurred an actual employment tax liability of $1,710,688.
Owner of Washington Roofing Company Sentenced for Employment Tax Evasion
On November 29, 2012, in Seattle, Wash., Bruce H. Sprague, owner of Bruce’s Roofing in Enumclaw, Washington, was sentenced to 24 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $1,179,761 to the IRS. In July 2012, Sprague pleaded guilty to paying a portion of his employees' wages in cash from 2005 through 2008 and to not collecting employment taxes including Social Security, Medicare and income tax withholding from the cash wages. According to his plea agreement, Sprague informed his employees in early 2005 that they would receive a portion of their wages in cash. The cash payroll was about fifty percent of each employee’s pay. No payroll taxes were collected on the cash portion of the employees’ pay. By paying in cash and not reporting the wages, Sprague avoided approximately $1,179,761 in employment taxes for 2006 through 2008. Even as he was failing to collect and pay over the employment taxes, Sprague was taking more than $3.9 million in wages and profits from the business for 2005 through 2008.
Former CEO Pennsylvania Business Sentenced on Tax Charges
On November 27, 2012, in Erie, Pa., Frederick Zurn was sentenced to 54 months in prison and ordered to pay $278,323 in restitution to the IRS on his conviction of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and violations of federal income tax laws. According to information presented in court, Zurn was the CEO and President of Erie Copy Products, an office equipment company based in Erie, Pennsylvania. He conspired with the Vice President of Finance and others to submit forged lease documents to banks and financing companies which listed new copy equipment. They would then either deliver used copy equipment to the customer, no equipment at all or deliver equipment that the customer never agreed to lease. The conspiracy resulted in victim losses of more than $2.5 million. In addition, from 2008 through 2011, Zurn failed to make payroll tax payments to the Internal Revenue Service on behalf of his employees at Erie Copy Products.
Maryland Contractor Sentenced for Tax Evasion
On November 27, 2012, in Baltimore, Md.. Randy Benjamin Wells, of Reisterstown, Maryland, was sentenced to 13 months in prison and three years of supervised release for tax evasion. Wells was also ordered to pay restitution of $349,588. Wells paid $74,404 to the IRS prior to sentencing. According to his guilty plea, from 2005 through 2009, Wells operated Wells Contracting and Demolition Company, Inc., Triple R Contractors, Inc., and Gryphon Contracting, Inc. Although Wells hired a tax preparer to prepare his individual tax returns for 2005 through 2009, Wells failed to file the income tax return with the IRS resulting in approximately $196,200 in taxes owed. Wells used several methods in an effort to conceal his income such as purchasing personal items using funds held in a company account. During this same time, Wells failed to pay employment taxes for the employees working for his companies. The tax loss as a result of Wells’ actions resulted in a total of $227,792 in employment taxes owed.
Massachusetts Businessman Sentenced for Tax Evasion and Conspiracy to Obstruct and Impede the IRS
On October 17, 2012, in Boston, Mass., Gary Alcock, of Westborough, Mass., was sentenced to 14 months in prison and ordered to pay $515,518 in restitution. Alcock pleaded guilty on December 9, 2011, to charges of tax evasion, conspiring to defraud the United States and willfully failing to file tax returns. On April 2, 2012, Charles Adams, Catherine Floyd and William Scott Dion were convicted by a jury of conspiracy to defraud the IRS by promoting an “under the table” payroll scheme doing business as Contract America. Dion and Floyd were also convicted for conspiracy to defraud the IRS through the use of an “underground warehouse banking” scheme designed to conceal subscriber income and assets from the IRS. According to information presented in court, Alcock owned and operated a trash hauling business called G&K Trucking, as well as a landscaping business called Bark, Mulch and Loam. Between 2001 and 2004, Alcock set up a nominee company called “Alex Management” to divert and hide business receipts and help his businesses fraudulently “disappear” on paper to evade IRS assessments and collection activity. Alcock also used Contract America to pay his employees “under the table” without withholding or paying Social Security, Medicare and income taxes. Dion was previously sentenced to 84 months in prison, Floyd to 60 months in prison, and Adams to 48 months.
Former Owner of Paving Business Sentenced for Failure to Pay Payroll Taxes
On October 12, 2012, in Boston, Mass., William E. Belleville, of Groton, was sentenced to 18 months in prison, one year of supervised release and ordered to pay $460,000 in restitution for failing to pay payroll taxes collected from his employees. On April 10, 2012, Belleville pleaded guilty to conspiracy and tax evasion charges. According to court documents, Belleville was the former owner of a paving and plowing company, Mass. Paving. From 1993 to 2006, he withheld payroll and income taxes from his employees’ wages, but failed to remit those sums, totaling approximately $460,000, to the Internal Revenue Service.
Former Owner of Sewing Company Sentenced for Payroll Tax Violations
On October 12, 2012, in New York, N.Y., Dong Sun Mun, the former owner and operator of Match Fashions Inc., was sentenced to 36 months in prison and three years of supervised release for his role in a scheme to evade payroll taxes and for jumping bail. Mun was also ordered to pay more than $304,000 in restitution to the IRS. According to the court documents, Mun owned and operated Match Fashions, a Manhattan company that did sewing work for couture companies. From 2004 through 2006, Mun cashed many of the checks he received from customers at check-cashing establishments rather that depositing them into bank accounts. Mun used the cash to pay Match Fashions’ employees off the books to evade IRS reporting requirements. He also did not withhold or remit to the IRS payroll taxes for his employees. Mun paid nearly $2 million in cash wages and did not pay over $304,000 in payroll taxes. Mun was originally scheduled to be sentenced on the tax charges in January 2011. Shortly before that sentencing date, Mun fled to Vietnam and Korea. He was subsequently arrested when he attempted to enter Canada.
Father and Son Sentenced on Tax Charges
On October 3, 2012, in Columbus, Ohio, Eric J. McEvoy was sentenced to three years probation and ordered to pay $16,677 in restitution to the IRS. Robert McEvoy was sentenced on September 27, 2012, to 18 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $702,429 in restitution to the IRS. On June 13, 2012, Eric McEvoy pleaded guilty to three counts of income tax evasion and Robert McEvoy pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to impede and impair the lawful functions of the IRS. According to court documents, Robert McEvoy, an un-enrolled tax preparer, owned and operated Capital City Accounting, a payroll servicing company. As a payroll company, Capital City Accounting issued payroll checks, prepared payroll tax returns and made federal tax deposits on behalf of its clients. Beginning in 2006, Eric McEvoy was employed by Capital City Accounting and assisted his father with the payroll process. Capital City Accounting billed its clients for the gross amount of their payroll, payroll taxes and fees. When clients made payments to Capital City Accounting, the payments were deposited into a Capital City Accounting bank account. Robert and Eric McEvoy failed to forward all employment taxes received from clients to the IRS. They diverted funds from the payroll account and used those funds to pay Capital City business expenses, Eric McEvoy’s personal living expenses, and for cash withdrawals. The McEvoys then either prepared and filed false Employer’s Quarterly Federal Tax Returns (IRS Forms 941) or failed to file the forms on behalf of its clients. Eric McEvoy intentionally failed to report over $66,000 income on his federal income tax returns for the 2006, 2007 and 2008 tax years.
Florida Lawn Service Owner Sentenced for Employment Tax Fraud and Filing a False Tax Return
On October 2, 2012, in Miami, Fla., Michael J. Cioffi, of Loxahatchee, Florida, was sentenced to 24 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $537,809 in restitution to the IRS. According to the criminal information and plea documents, Cioffi was the sole owner and operator of Mike Cioffi Lawn Service, in Loxahatchee. Cioffi’s business specialized in large commercial contracts and employed approximately thirty employees per quarter between January 2005 and December 2006. Documents filed with the court show that for each quarter during 2005 and 2006, Cioffi paid wages to his employees by check, but knowingly failed to collect and truthfully account for or pay to the IRS any FICA or income taxes due and owing to the United States on these wages. Cioffi also did not file any of the required Employer Quarterly Tax Returns, Forms 941, for this period with the IRS. Additionally, for tax year 2006, Cioffi willfully filed a United States Individual Income Tax Return, Form 1040, on behalf of himself and his spouse which falsely reported that the gross receipts for Mike Cioffi’s Lawn Service were $782,437, when Cioffi knew that gross receipts were actually more than $2 million.