Kentwood man pleads guilty to defrauding employer and filing false taxes

 

Date: April 21, 2022

Contact: newsroom@ci.irs.gov

U.S. Attorney Duane A. Evans announced that on April 19, 2022 Michael J. Goll, of Kentwood, pleaded guilty to wire fraud and filing false federal tax returns. Goll entered his guilty plea before U.S. District Judge Wendy B. Vitter. Judge Vitter scheduled Goll's sentencing for July 26, 2022, at 1:30 p.m.

According to court documents, Goll was the New Orleans branch manager of Company A, which provides material handling equipment to businesses. From January 2013 through September 2017, Goll defrauded Company A of approximately $549,667.39. Goll is alleged to have executed the scheme by sending Company A false invoices from shell companies that he had created, when in fact the work was either done by Company A's own employees or the work was not done at all. As part of the scheme, Goll had a contractor who did personal work for Goll inflate his bills to Company A to cover the work done for Goll. Goll justified the overbilling by telling the contractor that he planned on buying Company A in the future, although Goll never did purchase Company A, and Goll never told his employer about the overbilling.

Additionally, Goll pleaded guilty to filing false federal tax returns. According to court documents, Goll filed false personal income tax returns for tax years 2014 through and including 2017 in which he failed to accurately report his income, including the money that he embezzled from Company A. Moreover, Goll also counseled three other people, all of whom personally knew Goll, to file false tax returns. Goll told each of them, falsely, that he had graduated summa cum laude from the University of New Orleans with a Ph.D. in business administration, a degree that the University of New Orleans does not actually offer. Goll persuaded them to become business partners in a fake restaurant enterprise, which they believed was a true business opportunity. Goll then instructed them to file tax returns claiming business losses that were nonexistent. Goll had them each pay to him a portion of the false tax refund. Through his own false tax returns and those of the three others that he aided, Goll caused a tax loss to the United States of $188,694.00.

As to the charge of wire fraud, Goll may receive up to a maximum of 20 years in prison, up to three years of supervised release, and a fine of up to $250,000.00 or twice the gross gain or twice the gross loss to any victims. As to the charge of filing false tax returns, Goll may receive up to 3 years in prison, up to one year of supervised release, and a fine of up to $100,000.00. Each count also carries a $100 mandatory special assessment fee. As part of his plea, Goll agreed to make full restitution to Company A and to the IRS.

U.S. Attorney Evans praised the work of the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation and the U.S. Secret Service, which investigated this case jointly. Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew R. Payne is in charge of the prosecution.