Archive for the ‘Tax Evasion’ Category

It Was Only a 13.33% Kickback

Sunday, February 7th, 2016

Last year I reported on the case of Ronald Boyd. Mr. Boyd was Chief of Police of the Port of Los Angeles. The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are two of the busiest ports in the world, and Mr. Boyd had a nice job. But he saw an opportunity.

In 2011, Mr. Boyd and two other individuals entered into an agreement where Mr. Boyd would receive 13.33% of revenues related to a smartphone app called “Portwatch.” Mr. Boyd guaranteed that the port would adopt the app, and in return for that he got the promise of future revenues. There’s only one problem with that: Mr. Boyd didn’t disclose that. Oops.

Adding to his woes were the future plans of the business: The goal was to take Portwatch and get more money by developing and marketing a similar app called Metrowatch to sell to other government agencies. (The idea of Portwatch is that it would allow ordinary citizens to report crime at the port. In that sense, the app is quite good.) Unfortunately, Mr. Boyd decided that lying to federal investigators was a good idea (it’s not, of course).

Unfortunately, as the investigation into Mr. Boyd continued the government discovered something else:

Boyd also pleaded guilty to tax evasion in relation to his personal income tax return for 2011. In his plea agreement, Boyd admitted receiving income from a security business he operated, At Close Range. The income came from the owner of a company doing business with the Port, American Guard Services, and Boyd admitted that he failed to report that income on his personal income tax returns for years 2007 through 2011.

Mr. Boyd pleaded guilty to making false statements to FBI agents, tax evasion, and a misdemeanor charge of failing to file a tax return (he neglected to file a 2011 tax return for At Close Range). He’ll be sentenced in July.

An Entity a Day Will Keep the IRS Away, Right?

Sunday, January 24th, 2016

Here’s a scheme that’s sure to work to avoid remitting payroll taxes to the IRS. Every day (or week or month), I’ll form a new business entity that’s collecting the tax. Once the amount due to the IRS gets large, I’ll just use a new entity. The IRS will never catch on, right?

As I’ve said before and will say again, if you want a sure-fire way to get in tax trouble, withhold payroll taxes and don’t remit them to the IRS. I guarantee it will be investigated and you will get in trouble. Agim Zendeli apparently didn’t read my prior posts on this subject.

Mr. Zendeli operated the Ziggies chain of restaurants in Missouri. Mr. Zendeli, liked the good life; for eleven years (from 2004 to 2014), he used the restaurants as a piggy bank for his personal life.

During this period, Zendeli lived a lavish lifestyle, and spent substantial sums on vacations, gambling trips, entertainment and luxury vehicles, including three BMWs, two Cadillac Escalades, two Infiniti QX56s, a 2009 Mercedes, a 2008 Acura and a 2004 Land Rover.

That was done by not remitting the payroll taxes. His scheme was what I noted in my first paragraph.

In order to avoid IRS collection of past due employment taxes, Zendeli repeatedly formed new entities to continue restaurant operations. Once each company accumulated a large tax debt to the IRS, Zendeli ceased operating under that company’s name and opened a new entity, often in the name of a family member, partner, or employee. Zendeli, however, maintained custody and control of the businesses.

Mr. Zendeli also tried to deceive the bankruptcy court; that didn’t work:

In addition, Zendeli attempted to avoid payment of approximately $654,260 in past due federal and state employment taxes by filing bankruptcy on March 26, 2010. Prior to the bankruptcy, Zendeli divorced his wife and transferred the trademarked name “Ziggies®” to his father, for a token payment. (Funds from the 2011 sale of trade name “Ziggies®” were remitted through Zendeli’s bankruptcy proceedings, after the trustee determined a fraudulent transfer of assets had occurred.)

In the end, Mr. Zendeli pled guilty to failing to remit $1.3 million in federal payroll tax. He’s agreed to make restitution; he’s also facing up to five years at ClubFed.

As a helpful hint to any business owners who think this scheme will work: It won’t. But I’ve been reporting on these schemes for nearly 11 years, and I suspect if I keep this blog going another 11 years I’ll still be able to note these. It’s so much easier to simply pay your taxes and live a less lavish lifestyle…but that doesn’t occur to the Bozo contingent.

Those “Extra Services” Were Great for Business

Sunday, January 17th, 2016

Tips are one of those things that are done for many services. When we go out to eat, we normally leave a tip for the servers. I tip when I get my hair cut. A Denver massage parlor owner had a different idea about tips, and it likely led to an investigation that will probably lead her to ClubFed.

Jung Yoon Choi owned and operated three massage parlors in the Denver area from 2009 to 2010. Each location had a manager and workers who gave massages. Absolutely nothing out of the ordinary for a massage parlor. “Each of the spas typically had a fee schedule according to which customers paid a door fee ordinarily ranging from $40 to $50, depending on the amount of time requested (30 to 60 minutes were the norm).” That seems normal, too. It was the extra services that were an issue:

In addition, customers at the various spas often paid an additional fee which was characterized as a “tip” in many instances for “extra services” provided by Choi’s workers. At times, the “extra services” consisted of prostitution services in violation of Colorado Revised Statute, 18-7-201. Specifically, the workers would engage in sexual acts with customers in exchange for money. Choi was aware that such illicit activity was occurring at times in each of her spas and that business income was being generated from such activity.

That’s a different kind of tipping. Most likely, the FBI started to investigate and naturally wanted to look at the tax returns for the business. There was just one problem with that: No tax returns had been filed for the business or herself.

In addition to not filing tax returns and not paying taxes, Choi further impeded the IRS’s collection of taxes by several means, including: using nominees on bank accounts so as to conceal her business income; conducting cash and business transactions using nominees; conducting financial transactions in amounts that were less than $10,000 so as not to trigger the filing of currency transaction reports; and hiding and storing income in the form of cash hoards at various locations.

That brought in IRS Criminal Investigation, and not only did they discover all of this, they found $118,575 of cash in a storage locker. That’s now been forfeited. Additionally, Ms. Choi has pleaded guilty to one county of obstructing and impairing the laws of the IRS. She’ll be sentenced in April.

That’s A Lot of Roast Beef Sandwiches

Tuesday, December 15th, 2015

Nick’s Famous Roast Beef is in Beverly, Massachusetts. You can get a roast beef sandwich for $4.50 to $6.95, definitely a reasonable price. The Department of Justice is alleging that one reason the prices are low is that the owners skimmed $6 million from the business to lower their taxes. The owners of the business and the son of one of the owners have been charged with tax evasion.

Nick’s only takes cash, and the owners are alleged to have done a variation of the two sets of books idea: two sets of cash register tapes.

The indictment alleges that Eleni Koudanis had primary responsibility for the book-keeping functions of the business, and also recruited employees, including her son Steven Koudanis, to create false cash register receipts to use in connection with an IRS tax audit of Nick’s Famous Roast Beef. The true cash register receipts were allegedly destroyed and not provided to the tax preparer who prepared the business and personal tax returns.

Nicholas Koduanis, Nicholas Markos, and Eleni Koudanis were each charged with one count of conspiracy to defraud the US by obstructing the IRS and ten counts of aiding and assisting in the filing of false tax returns. If convicted, they are looking at spending some time at ClubFed.

Six Month Vacation Leads to Four and Eight Years at ClubFed

Sunday, December 13th, 2015

Everyone likes vacations. Last year, I went to New Zealand and Australia. Unfortunately, this year’s vacation wasn’t anything like that trip. An Oregon couple has learned that some vacations are better off not taken.

As I previously wrote, Ronald and Dorothea Joling decided after their conviction on tax charges to take a vacation to Arizona rather than show up for sentencing. The US Marshals Service apprehended the couple in Clarksdale, Arizona. On Thursday, Ronald Joling was sentenced to 97 months at ClubFed (eight years and one month) and Dorothea Joling received four years (48 months) at ClubFed. And there’s more! The Jolings are still waiting to be tried after being charged with filing retaliatory bogus liens against various federal judges, prosecutors, and the federal court clerk’s office.

Acting US Attorney for Oregon Billy Williams stated

This is an egregious case. Not only did the Jolings refuse to pay their fair share of taxes like the rest of us, they retaliated against federal employees who were just doing their jobs. After a jury convicted them at trial, they cowardly refused to show up for sentencing and fled the state. They were fugitives for six months, requiring additional resources to locate and arrest them in Arizona. They are now in custody and will serve their appropriately lengthy sentences.

You will have to wait another eighteen days to see if the Jolings’s actions are good enough to win the 2015 Tax Offender of the Year award.

I’m Sure Their Vacation in Arizona Will Impress the Sentencing Judge

Sunday, November 1st, 2015

Back in October 2014, Ronald and Dorothea Joling were convicted of tax evasion. As the US Department of Justice noted in the press release,

Evidence at trial detailed the Jolings’ illegal efforts over close to twenty years to keep the IRS and the Oregon Department of Revenue from collecting almost $2 million they owed in back taxes, penalties and interest. The Jolings’ efforts to thwart the IRS included their use of sham trusts, a corporation, sole bank accounts in the names of nominees, a warehouse bank, bogus money orders, bills of exchange, bonds, and filing false tax returns with the IRS. When those efforts failed, the Jolings resorted to intimidation tactics and threats. Witnesses testified that in response to attempts to collect taxes owed, the Jolings threatened them with arrest, criminal prosecution and lawsuits. In one instance, the Jolings took out a newspaper advertisement in the Coquille Valley Sentinel accusing a local government employee of malfeasance just for performing her job. The Jolings also filed retaliatory bogus liens against federal judges, the federal court clerk’s office, and federal prosecutors who were involved in the criminal case.

That’s bad enough, and US Attorney for the District of Oregon is absolutely right in stating, “When people like the Jolings refuse to pay their fair share, and then threaten, harass, and file liens against people who are just trying to do their jobs, my office will aggressively prosecute them and work with the IRS to hold them accountable.” But that’s just the first part of the story.

They were due to be sentenced this past April. However, they decided that retiring to Clarkdale, Arizona was a better choice than being sentenced for their crimes in Eugene, Oregon. The US Marshals Service caught them in Clarkdale.

Not only are the Jolings likely to face lengthy terms at ClubFed for their convictions on tax crimes (prosecutors were going to recommend ten years for Mr. Joling and five years for Mrs. Joling), they still face charges related to allegedly filing retaliatory liens.

The Jolings apparently believe they are sovereign citizens immune to federal taxation. Mr. Joling wanted to be on “biblical safe ground” (he was a pastor) so he didn’t pay taxes.

I’m sure the sentencing judge (Judge Ann Aiken who also presided over their first trial) will be impressed by their six month vacation and being subject to one of the alleged retaliatory liens. A helpful hint to anyone thinking of repeating the Jolings’ strategy: Just pay your taxes, and if you ever have a court date show up.

Well, That’s One Way to Avoid ClubFed

Monday, October 5th, 2015

Peter Mizioch pleaded guilty on September 4th to one count of preparing a false tax return. Mr. Mizioch was allowed by the sentencing judge to go on a Caribbean cruise. Mr. Mizioch is now answering to a higher authority — he suffered an apparent stroke on September 12th and then died of an apparent heart attack on the 13th.

The AP story notes,

Phoenix police then scrambled to get evidence of his death before his body was cremated because they were still looking at him as a lead in his wife’s unsolved slaying. Mizioch had denied any involvement, and he was not charged with her killing.

As for the tax charges, Mr. Mizioch pleaded to using fictitious consulting fees to lower his income for his construction business. Mr. Mizioch had agreed to make restitution of $566,390 to the IRS.

Neymar Tax Evasion Investigation Continues; Judge Freezes $48 Million of Assets

Sunday, September 27th, 2015

Neymar is one of the world’s best soccer players. Given an injury to fellow Barcelona player Lionel Messi, there’s pressure on Neymar and his teammates to step up. Earlier this year it was disclosed that Neymar was being investigated for tax evasion. That investigation has apparently continued; a judge froze 188.8 million Reals ($47.6 million) of Neymar’s assets.

According to the news report, the judge froze assets of Neymar and his parents. The judge froze three times the value of the alleged evasion ($18 million). His parents dispute the evasion.

Cash & Carry Your Way to Tax Evasion

Sunday, September 27th, 2015

Kasia’s Bakery is a very successful bakery in New Britain, Connecticut. Its owner, Marian Kobryn, emigrated from Poland to the US to escape political oppression. He opened the bakery, and it’s been a great success.

The bakery operates on a cash-only basis. Mr. Kobryn was determined to lower his tax burden. Instead of making sure all expenses were noted on his tax returns and perhaps contributing to a SEP IRA, he decided to not deposit all of the cash into his business bank account. He knew about the currency transaction reporting (CTR) rules, so he made his cash deposits just under $10,000 and deposited them into several branches of his local bank.

While neither the Department of Justice report or the news report note what caused the initial IRS investigation, it’s a virtual certainty that it was his multiple deposits of cash. Mr. Kobryn apparently didn’t know about Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs). All financial institutions in the US are required to have programs to detect evasions of CTR rules. Additionally, the IRS investigates nearly all SARs while they don’t investigate many CTRs.

Mr. Kobryn’s evasion was of $730,000 of receipts, for a tax loss of $243,000. The penalties and interest totaled an additional $192,000. Mr. Kobryn was sentenced last week to time served (he is in poor health) and to make full restitution of the tax. He has already paid back all the tax and $50,000 of the penalties and interest. It’s a whole lot easier to simply pay the tax due in the first place…but that rarely occurs when you’re developing that perfect tax evasion scheme.

A 0% Chance of Success Didn’t Deter Him!

Sunday, September 20th, 2015

Ronald Reagan said, “Facts are stupid things.” Well, one fact that I’ve mentioned in the past is that IRS Criminal Investigations looks at all allegations of employment tax fraud. The reason is obvious: The IRS doesn’t like the idea of people stealing from them. I’ve been saying this for the ten-plus years that I’ve been writing this blog.

Andrew Parish of Chillicothe, Ohio apparently doesn’t read this blog, and also apparently didn’t consider how his scheme would fail. Mr. Parish hired a firm to prepare his payroll and send the reports to the IRS and Ohio–all well and good so far. He then decided to issue paychecks directly. That wouldn’t have been an issue if Mr. Parish had told his payroll company. I’m sure you’re a couple steps ahead of me: He didn’t, nor did he issue his own payroll reports. But he did include the withholding on the paychecks.

The employees naturally included this withholding on their tax returns. That withholding wasn’t going to match IRS records, and sooner or later the IRS was going to investigate. When the amount missing matched the amount of those paychecks, it wasn’t going to take a genius to figure out where the error occurred.

(An interesting digression: This past April one of my clients received an IRS notice because the withholding on his return didn’t match IRS records. I looked at the W-2’s (my client had multiple employers) and they matched perfectly. It turns out that the error is exactly the amount of the withholding from one employer, and that money apparently hasn’t made it to the IRS. My client is a pack-rat, and had all of his paychecks and his W-2’s, and everything tied perfectly. The IRS requested a copy of those records; it is a near certainty that IRS Criminal Investigations is looking into this. But I digress….)

As for Mr. Parish, he pleaded guilty earlier this year to failing to account for and pay over employment taxes to the IRS. He was sentenced to 18 months at ClubFed and must make restitution of $341,336. A helpful hint to those thinking of not remitting employment taxes: This had a zero percent chance of success in 2005 and the odds haven’t improved in the last ten years.