About a year ago I discover a tax blog called Apirl15.com. I doubt we’ll be seeing any more of this blog; according to an affidavit from an IRS Special Agent, the proprietor of the blog has admitted to embezzling $8.5 million.
William Murray, a CPA from Sacramento, allegedly told his clients to pay their taxes through a “trust account” system. This “service” would help the clients and make things easier for them. Mr. Murray also allegedly had clients send money that he would allegedly “loan” to other clients.
Unfortunately for his victims, it was all a lie. From the affidavit:
In a non-custodial, unimmunized interview, Murray provided a spreadsheet—which he said was incomplete—which indicated that from January 2005 to November 2009 he deposited over $6.5 million dollars of client tax payments to his “trust account” of which he only paid $376,355 to the IRS and/or state taxing authorities on behalf of his clients.
In that interview, Murray also admitted to another lie he told clients. He said that he told them to invest in a financial services entity he called US Financial Services. It was bogus. Using this story, Murray fraudulently obtained over $2,023,674 from clients who intended to invest with him.
Mr. Murray admitted that the money he obtained was used, “to support an extravagant lifestyle of fine dining, travel, entertainment, attendance at professional sports events, …three residential properties, and … a 10 vehicle fleet limousine service known as Luxury Limousine.” Mr. Murray also allegedly was a heavy gambler.
Mr. Murray is cooperating with authorities. Donald Heller, his attorney, told the Sacramento Bee, “He’s fully cooperated with the government. He accepts responsibility for his conduct and is very remorseful. He’s a very capable individual who enjoyed a wonderful reputation.”
The investigation began after a doctor told the Special Agent that he had given money to Mr. Murray’s business to pay his taxes, but the IRS had garnished the doctor’s account for failing to pay the taxes. The investigation began, and the facade crumbled away. He was arrested last week and is currently free on bail. His preliminary hearing is set for February 12th.
I learned of this case from an email from a blog reader. He’ll certainly have a casualty loss claim, but if Mr. Murray gambled away and spent his money it’s likely most of it is gone for good.
I’m unaware of accountants offering “trust services.” I don’t want to touch your money (except when you pay my invoices). I don’t want the liability if something goes wrong. Unfortunately, not everyone is ethical. The usual rule applies: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.