North Carolina CFO sentenced to 18 months in prison in multimillion tax fraud case


Date: June 23, 2023


Wilmington, NC — Christopher Scott Harrison of Fayetteville, N.C., was sentenced today to 18 months in prison, followed by one year of supervised release to include home confinement, for tax fraud. On January 24, Harrison pled guilty willfully filing a false tax return with respect to nearly $25 million in unreported income he paid to himself from his company. In addition to his prison sentence, Harrison was ordered to pay more than $4.6 million in additional restitution.

"As noted by the judge at sentencing, this businessman used a sophisticated scheme over many years to knowingly divert corporate proceeds to support his lifestyle by claiming fancy jewelry, such as a Rolex watch, a Cartier diamond necklace and a Tiffany bracelet were business expenses," said U.S. Attorney Michael Easley. "We will not allow wealthy tax cheats to line their pockets at the expense of hardworking American taxpayers."

According to the criminal information and evidence summarized in Court, Harrison became the CFO and majority owner of an insurance and Human Resources benefits business, Ebenconcepts. Beginning at least as early as 2012, Harrison began to lavishly spend company funds for his own benefit, for example purchasing a watch for approximately $145,000 and spending approximately $300,000 of company funds for a swimming pool at his residence. As these expenditures came to light, Harrison filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. During the bankruptcy proceedings, an accounting firm retained by the Bankruptcy Trustee discovered almost $25 million in personal expenditures attributable to Harrison reported as business expenses between tax years 2012 and 2018. Harrison filed false personal returns over that period, which failed to report the income, leading to almost $6 million in uncollected federal income taxes.

"The license to run a business is not a license to avoid paying taxes," said Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Assistant Special Agent in Charge Brian Thomas, of Charlotte's Field Office. "Harrison's misconduct - hiding income and having his business pay his purely personal expenses - cheated all Americans, since we all pay our fair share for the government services and protections that we enjoy."

Michael Easley, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina made the announcement after sentencing by Chief U.S. District Judge Richard E. Myers II. Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) led the investigation, and Assistant U.S. Attorney David G. Beraka prosecuted the case.