Three Sets of Books Isn’t Better than One

From time to time I’ve seen stories of individuals using two sets of books: One with the actual numbers and one with the (lesser) numbers used to prepare the tax returns. It’s a great idea…until you get caught. A former owner of a Las Vegas liquor store took the double set of books idea a bit further.

Jeffrey Nowak and Ramzi Suliman owned a chain of liquor stores here in Las Vegas. The stores were successful, but the income reported on the tax returns was inaccurate. Mr. Nowak gave his tax professional the second set of books that left out about $4 million in cash receipts. The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports that there was also a third set of books; that set compared the true and skimmed versions of books. The Department of Justice press release notes, “For tax years 2006 to 2009, Nowak reported a total income tax owed of only $313, when in fact Nowak owed more than $400,000. The total tax loss from the conspiracy is nearly $1 million.”

Mr. Nowak was indicted and tried this past week. He was found guilty of conspiracy to defraud the United States, assiting in filing false corporate tax returns, and tax evasion. He’s looking at a lengthy term at ClubFed when he’s sentenced in November. Mr. Suliman pleaded guilty in 2014; he is awaiting sentencing.

For those wondering: Three sets of books isn’t better than two, and two sets of books isn’t better than one.

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