Tax Fraud in Spades

Lots and lots of fraudsters have been at work recently. Here are some of the lowlights:

Charles Jones, the accused former Louisiana State Senator, pleaded not guilty to three federal tax charges. I wrote about his case earlier this year when the news first broke. His trial is not expected to begin until late summer at the earliest.

Butler County (Ohio) Auditor Kay Rogers pleaded guilty to one count of filing a false tax return and one count of conspiracy to commit mail and bank fraud. Rogers’ charges stem from two unrelated issues. First, she prepared tax returns from 2001 to 2006 and didn’t report the $56,000 of income on her own tax return. And she’s been ensnared in a scandal involving fiber-optic cable contracts in Butler County. She’s looking at about five years at ClubFed.

If you want a sure-fire way to get federal authorities upset with you, here it is. Just collect federal payroll taxes and keep them rather than remitting them to the IRS. You can get bonus points if you use phony payroll companies with foreign addresses. That’s what Gary Trebert, an attorney who ran nursing homes in the Midwest, did. He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the IRS and the Department of Health and Human Services. The total skimmed was $34 million, so we’re not talking peanuts here. AP is reporting that the government will recommend Mr. Trebert serve eight years at ClubFed.

Earlier this year I reported on the case of Sabi Atteyih. Mr. Atteyih had reported zero income to the IRS but had told the truth while obtaining a loan. He’ll do a year and a day at ClubFed and have to make restitution of $47,000 to the IRS.

We’ve had lots of fraud cases of individuals diverting business funds to pay personal expenses. From Baltimore comes yet another. Stilianos Mavroulis and his son, Kyriakos Mavroulis, are accused of diverting $1.9 million from their mortgage business to pay personal expenses. The government alleges that they coded these personal expenses as “other expenses” on their business tax returns. That’s over $500,000 in taxes, and that’s felony charges of tax fraud. Their accountant, Joseph Poole, also faces charges. They’re looking at several years at ClubFed if convicted.

Lloyd Batsfield belonged to the Bozo wing of tax preparers. Just about every one of his clients got a refund. And almost every one of his clients took education credits. A coincidence? Not hardly. It was tax fraud big time, with the loss to the government of $6 million. To compound matters, Mr. Batsfield also stiffed the IRS for $171,000 on his own taxes. He pleaded guilty last year. He was sentenced last week to six years at ClubFed.

Finally, yet another story about Renaissance, the Tax People. Michael Craig Cooper, the founder, was convicted on 72 counts including mail fraud, wire fraud, money laundering, money laundering conspiracy, and engaging in illegal monetary transactions. While Mr. Cooper can say he was acquitted on 74 counts he has plenty to worry him. He’s looking at a very long sentence at ClubFed. To compound matters, he also faces a forfeiture hearing on $75 million of assets that a co-conspirator, Todd Strand, admitted were proceeds from the scam. Remember our advice: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

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