Tax Fraud Blotter: Courier and thieves

5 months ago 2121

What a load; slip and falls; bless this cell; and other highlights of recent tax cases.

Damascus, Oregon: Rebekah Joy Williams, former owner and general manager of local dump truck hauling and concrete companies, has pleaded guilty to failing to pay employment taxes.

Williams owned and operated Anbasa Transport and Kelaye Concrete and over at least three years withheld payroll taxes from employees' paychecks and provided them with paystubs reflecting the withholdings. Williams made no payroll tax payments on behalf of either company from the third quarter of 2015 through the fourth quarter of 2017.

She failed to pay some $112,257 in federal employment taxes to the IRS.

Williams faces up to five years in prison, a $250,000 fine or twice her gross gains from the offense and three years of supervised release. Sentencing is Feb. 14. Williams has agreed to pay $725,492 in restitution to the IRS.

San Diego: Jose Luis Gonzalez, who conspired to operate an unregistered money-transmission business, has been sentenced to 30 months in prison and ordered to forfeit $5,052,037 for transmitting more than $5 million dollars illegally and claiming more than $19 million dollars in fraudulent deductions.

Gonzalez and his conspirators accepted and deposited cash, and wire-transferred the deposits throughout the United States, ultimately transferring the money to Mexico.

The scheme aimed to evade domestic and foreign laws regarding money transfer and reporting. Gonzalez and conspirators opened some 11 bank accounts for shell corporations in the Department of Justice's Southern District of California. From just October 2018 to May 2019, no less than $5,052,037 in U.S. currency, checks and money orders was deposited into the shell accounts at bank branches and ATMs throughout the U.S. About 95% of the funds were transferred to Mexico-based bank accounts. The conspirators charged a money transmission fee or commission.

Gonzalez prepared 12 false corporation income tax returns for 10 of the shell corporations and created $19,615,192 in bogus deductions that nearly zeroed out the corporations' gross receipts. 

Clementon, New Jersey: Awilda Henriquez, 36, has been sentenced to 159 months in prison for her role in a scheme to obtain money through fraudulently obtained refund checks.

For the 2013 tax year, more than 3,300 stolen ID refund fraud returns were filed using the names and Social Security numbers of residents of Puerto Rico, with the refunds mailed to Pennsauken, New Jersey. Henriquez and her conspirators recruited mail carriers from the U.S. Postal Service as part of the scheme to steal the tax refund checks from the mail. The carriers were paid for every Treasury check stolen.

Henriquez and her conspirators also recruited and paid couriers to cash the tax refund checks in varied ways, including at check-cashing businesses in New Jersey, where Henriquez paid the tellers to also participate in the scheme. The couriers presented fraudulent IDs matching the names on the refund checks.

The scheme cost the U.S. Treasury $565,091, the amount of restitution Henriquez was ordered to pay. She was also sentenced to three years of supervised release.

Sergeant Bluff, Iowa: Kevin Alexander, 62, of Sioux City, Iowa, owner of a construction firm, has pleaded guilty to evading payment of his company's employment taxes.

Alexander owned K&L Construction, which from the second quarter of 2014 through the first quarter of 2017 paid some $3.8 million in wages to its employees and withheld about $1 million in payroll taxes. The company paid none of these withholdings to the IRS.

During IRS collection proceedings, Alexander accepted responsibility for paying K&L Construction's outstanding tax balance but submitted a false form to the IRS that concealed some of his assets, which he later admitted to.

Alexander faces a maximum of five years in prison, as well as a period of supervised release, restitution and monetary penalties.


Southfield, Michigan: Personal injury lawyer Carl L. Collins III has been convicted of filing five false returns for himself and one of his businesses.

In addition to having legal offices, Collins owned a real estate company and two medical-related companies. He did not report substantial income that he received from these businesses and deposited into undisclosed interest on lawyer's trust accounts, concealing the money from his tax preparers and the IRS.

Collins was convicted of filing false personal tax returns for 2012, 2015 and 2018, a false 2012 amended return and a false 2015 corporate return for one of the medical companies. He did not report some $600,000 in income he earned in 2012 and on his 2015 personal return did not report more than $800,000 in income. On his 2018 personal return, Collins omitted some $300,000 in income that he deposited into another undisclosed trust account.

Collins did not report a total of more than $2.6 million in income.

Sentencing is March 21. Collins faces up to three years in prison for each count of filing a false return. He also faces a period of supervised release, restitution and monetary penalties.

Wallingford, Connecticut: Attorney Mark Carbutti has pleaded guilty to tax evasion.

For the 2013 through 2017 tax years, Carbutti, who specializes in personal injury law, reported some $585,025 in federal income taxes from his legal practice and certain rental income.

During that period and afterward, he made only limited payments of his taxes due and interest and penalties accrued. Between December 2014 and May 2019, he received at least 12 IRS notices advising him of his tax amounts due and how to pay them.

When the IRS levied personal bank accounts used by Carbutti, he closed those accounts and wrote checks from his firm's operating account payable to his paralegal, which subsequently were converted to cash and deposited into the bank accounts of LLCs that he had created in association with his real estate holdings. He also took substantial additional cash withdrawals from his law firm bank accounts and redeposited the money in the LLCs' accounts. Between approximately 2013 and 2019, Carbutti paid some $600,000 in personal expenses from those accounts, including for gambling, restaurants, vacations and a BMW.

Sentencing is March 2, when he faces up to five years in prison. He has agreed to pay the IRS $750,180 in back taxes, interest and penalties.

Tickfaw, Louisiana: Tax preparer Cheryl L. Kinchen, 39, has been sentenced to a year and a day in prison for filing false returns.

Kinchen, owner/operator of Beyond Blessed Tax Services, prepared false returns in 2015 and 2017 for her personal taxes on which she underreported the gross income that she earned as a preparer for the periods.

Kinchen, who previously pleaded guilty, was also ordered to pay the IRS $167,496 in restitution and to pay a $200 special assessment fee. She must also serve a year of supervised release.

Odessa, Texas: Tax preparer Rita Elia Sanchez has pleaded guilty to two counts of aiding and assisting in the preparation and presentation of a false return.

Sanchez owned and operated Rita's Tax Service from her home. Between 2016 and 2018, she helped prepare false 1040s for clients. She inflated and, in some cases, fabricated items on her clients' income tax returns, often without the clients' knowledge. Sanchez rarely reviewed her clients' returns with them, beyond the amount they were to receive. 

Sanchez faces up to three years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 on each count. She has agreed to pay the IRS $7,953,546.81 in restitution and is prohibited from preparing or filing federal returns for anyone other than herself. 

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