Pizza Franchise Owner and Four Others Indicted for Alleged Federal Tax Fraud Crimes

July 17, 2013

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on July 16, 2013 released the following:

“WASHINGTON— The Justice Department announced today that Happy Asker, franchise owner of multiple Happy’s Pizza franchises, was indicted by a federal grand jury in Detroit along with Maher Bashi, Tom Yaldo, Arkan Summa, and Tagrid Bashi for multiple tax offenses arising from a conspiracy to underreport taxable income and payroll taxes of nine Happy’s Pizza franchises. All defendants with the exception of Happy Asker were arrested.

A multiple-count indictment was unsealed in the Eastern District of Michigan charging Happy Asker, Maher Bashi, and Tom Yaldo with conspiracy to defraud the United States by keeping fraudulent accounting records and falsely reporting income taxes and payroll taxes due and owing.

The indictment alleges that from approximately June 2004 through April 2011, the defendants conspired with each other to divert business receipts, underreport wages, and understate the true income and expenses of specified Happy’s Pizza franchises. According to the indictment, the scheme resulted in the specified franchises paying more than $2.1 million in unreported wages to employees and shareholders.

Additional charges in the indictment include three counts of filing a false individual income tax return as to Happy Asker; 21 counts of aiding in the filing of false payroll tax returns as to Happy Asker and Maher Bashi; 23 counts of aiding in the filing of false payroll tax returns as to Tom Yaldo on behalf of specified Happy’s Pizza franchises; and 11 counts as to Happy Asker and Maher Bashi for aiding in filing false corporate tax returns on behalf of specified Happy’s Pizza franchises.

Finally, the indictment also charges Happy Asker and Maher Bashi with one count of obstructing the due administration of the internal revenue laws. Arkan Summa and Tagrid Bashi are also charged together in a count of obstructing the due administration of the internal revenue laws and Tom Yaldo is also charged with one count of obstructing the due administration of the internal revenue laws.

An indictment is not a finding of guilt. Individuals charged in indictments are presumed innocent until proven guilty. If convicted of the conspiracy charge, the defendants face up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The charges of filing a false income tax return and aiding or assisting in filing a false return carry a maximum penalty of three years in prison and a fine of $250,000 for each count. The obstruction charge carries a maximum penalty of three years in prison and a fine of $250,000 for each count.

This case was investigated by Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the FBI and is being prosecuted by Senior Litigation Counsel Corey Smith and Trial Attorney Mark McDonald of the Justice Department’s Tax Division.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

Federal Crimes – Detention Hearing

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


FBI arrest three former football players on allegations of ID-theft and tax-related fraud charges

May 1, 2012

The Miami Herald on May 1, 2012 released the following:

“Feds bust three former football players on ID-theft and tax-related fraud charges

BY JAY WEAVER

Two ex-National Football League players and a former Miami high school star have been arrested by the FBI on federal charges in connection with an alleged scheme to steal people’s identities and file false tax returns in others’ names to collect thousands of dollars in refunds, according to authorities.

The two ex-NFL players charged with defrauding the federal government and ID theft are: William Joseph, a University of Miami defensive tackle drafted in the first round by the New York Giants in 2003, and Michael Bennett, a University of Wisconsin running back also drafted in the first round by the Minnesota Vikings in 2001.

The third defendant, Louis Gachelin, is the half-brother of Denver Broncos star Elvis Dumervil. Gachelin was a standout at Miami Jackson High and Syracuse University as a defensive lineman and signed as a free agent with the New England Patriots in 2004. But he never made the final roster. Gachelin played in 2005 for NFL Europe’s Frankfurt Galaxy.

Joseph and Gachelin grew up in Miami; Bennett was born in Milwaukee.

All three were questioned after their arrests Monday by FBI agents at the bureau’s North Miami Beach regional office. They were then transferred to the Federal Detention Center in downtown Miami for court appearances Tuesday afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert Dube, according to the clerk’s office. Details of the alleged scheme are expected to be disclosed in a criminal complaint to be released later Tuesday.

FBI spokesman Mike Leverock declined to comment.

As part of a related investigation, the FBI also arrested about a half-dozen other defendants Monday.

Authorities say the latest tax-related fraud case, while unique because of the ex-NFL defendants, is yet another indication of escalating identity-theft crimes in South Florida.

In April, a Coral Springs woman pleaded guilty to stealing the identities of U.S. Marines and others in a tax-refund scheme designed to trick the Internal Revenue Service into sending her tens of thousands of dollars, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.

Dorothy Boulin, 29, pleaded guilty in Miami federal court to one count each of fraud and aggravated identity theft. She faces up to 22 years in prison, but as part of her plea agreement Boulin agreed to work in an “undercover role” for the FBI that could significantly reduce her prison term.

For her scam, Boulin used an electronic IRS number — normally issued to legitimate tax preparers — to file false returns in the names of at least 14 people, including several U.S. Marines serving in Afghanistan, according to court records. The bogus returns sought more than $53,000 in refunds.

Boulin’s plea agreement cited a person identified only as “C.J.” as the supplier of the names, dates of birth and Social Security numbers of Marines victimized in her scam.

Crooks like Boulin have graduated from everyday credit-card fraud to stealing people’s identities such as names, dates of birth and Social Security numbers in order to rob taxpayers of refunds before they file their returns with the Internal Revenue Service, according to the U.S. attorney’s office in Miami.

Authorities say tax-return rackets are particularly pernicious because they harm two victims: the federal government as well as legitimate taxpayers whose identities and refunds have been stolen.

Here’s the root of the problem: Scammers have exploited a hole in the IRS electronic filing system, according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office.

The federal watchdog agency found that the IRS does not actually match tax returns to the W-2 income forms that employers file until months after the filing season ends on April 15. Employers file them at the end of February or early March, but the agency does not match them up with employees’ incomes reported on 1040 forms until June.

That’s way too late to catch identity thieves who file false returns in others’ names early in the year. What’s more, the IRS offers to download the refunds onto prepaid debit cards for speed and convenience.

Because of the relative ease, everyday criminals are moving into identity-theft rackets, using computers, the Internet and online tax services to fleece the IRS and taxpayers. The GAO reports that the number of identity theft-related fraud incidents on tax returns reached 248,000 in 2010, about five times more than in 2008.

In the past two years, the IRS has “redoubled” efforts to fight tax fraud by identity theft, according to Steven T. Miller, the IRS’s deputy commissioner for services and enforcement, who testified before the U.S. Senate Finance Committee in March.

Miller told the panel that last year the IRS launched new software filters to flag fraudulent returns, and new procedures for handling suspect returns.

Recent federal legislation may help combat the crime.

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Florida, who presided over the March hearing, has sponsored a bill that would make it a felony, punishable by up to five years in prison, to use someone else’s Social Security or taxpayer identification numbers to file a fraudulent return.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

Federal Crimes – Detention Hearing

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Web Site Allegedly Stole Job Seekers’ Data in Tax-Fraud Scheme

April 18, 2012

The New York Times on April 17, 2012 released the following:

“By RUSS BUETTNER

A Web site that promised to connect people with much-needed jobs during the recession was actually a means to steal the applicants’ personal information in a scheme to file fraudulent tax returns, prosecutors said on Tuesday.

The site, http://www.jobcentral2.net, listed nonexistent jobs and used applicants’ identities to file the bogus federal tax returns and collect tax refunds, said Cyrus R. Vance Jr., the Manhattan district attorney.

Petr Murmylyuk, 31, a Russian citizen living Brooklyn, preyed upon unemployed people because they were unlikely to have income and unlikely to file a tax return, reducing the chances that the fraudulent returns would draw attention, Mr. Vance said.

“His scheme hurt jobless individuals and society as a whole,” Mr. Vance said.

The ease with which a bogus company can look legitimate on the Internet has created a perfect scenario for fraudulently “phishing” for Social Security numbers and other personal information under various pretenses.

Filing fake tax returns, in particular, is a growing problem. In January, the Internal Revenue Service and the Justice Department announced that a law enforcement sweep through 23 states had revealed the potential theft of thousands of identities and taxpayer refunds.

The I.R.S. has devoted a Web page to listing enforcement actions involving identity thefts used to fraudulently claim tax refunds. In the most recent case, a woman from Monroeville, Ala., who had conspired with a tax return provider to file bogus returns was sentenced to 75 months in prison and ordered to pay more than $1.3 million to the federal government.

The most common form of identity theft complaint received by the Federal Trade Commission’s Consumer Sentinel Network relates to the filing of fraudulent government documents or benefits.

Mr. Murmylyuk’s site claimed that its job placement services were “sponsored by the government and intended for people with low income,” prosecutors said. He sent e-mails with links to his fake Web site through legitimate job search forums and college electronic mailing lists, they said.

He collected refunds in the names of 108 job seekers, an indictment against him said. The amount collected on each was about $3,500 to $6,500, which totaled more than $450,000. Mr. Vance’s office said that money was stolen from the federal government.

Mr. Murmylyuk recruited 11 students from Kazakhstan, who let him use their bank accounts to cash the tax refunds, according to court documents. Some of the students returned to Kazakhstan shortly after opening the accounts for Mr. Murmylyuk, and were indicted in absentia.

Mr. Murmylyuk, also known as Dmitry Tokar, was charged with money laundering, identity theft and other charges. He faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted on the top charge of grand larceny.

Federal prosecutors in New Jersey, meanwhile, charged Mr. Murmylyuk on Tuesday with working with a ring that stole $1 million by hacking into retail brokerage accounts at Scottrade, E*Trade, Fidelity, Schwab and other brokerage firms and executing sham trades.

He was charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, unauthorized access to computers and securities fraud. He faces a maximum of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine on the federal charges if convicted.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

Federal Crimes – Detention Hearing

Federal Mail Fraud Crimes

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Tax Crimes Least Likely To Be Prosecuted At U.S. Attorney’s Office In Los Angeles

April 16, 2012

Huffington Post on April 16, 2012 released the following:

“By Kendall Taggart

The U.S. attorney’s office in Los Angeles is less likely to prosecute criminal cases referred by the Internal Revenue Service than its counterparts in the rest of the state, according to a California Watch analysis of five years of data.

The eastern district, which includes Sacramento and Fresno, was the most likely to prosecute IRS referrals, the data shows. But the U.S. attorney in Los Angeles was the only office in the state that fell slightly below the national average of prosecuting criminal IRS cases.

Each U.S. attorney has broad discretion over the priorities for his or her district. They determine which criminal cases referred to them by other law enforcement agencies they want to pursue and which cases to close without prosecuting.

It is difficult to determine why the Los Angeles office lagged behind its peers.

“It’s definitely puzzling,” said Terree Bowers, a former U.S. attorney. Since leaving the Los Angeles office, Bowers said he brought a fraud case to the office’s attention and was surprised that it didn’t act on the case.

The agency did not comment specifically on the findings, but Bruce Riordan, a U.S. attorney’s office spokesman, said: “I have been associated with the Department of Justice and the Central District of California for more 20 years, and based on my experience, the Central District has a longstanding and well-deserved reputation, both locally and nationally, for vigorously and successfully prosecuting criminal tax violations.”

The IRS investigates and refers cases about tax fraud, money laundering, narcotics trafficking, organized crime and public corruption.

Compared with the volume of cases it handles, the IRS refers only a small percentage for federal prosecution. Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, which compiled the data analyzed by California Watch, estimated that the odds of having the IRS refer a case to a federal prosecutor were about 12 per million nationwide last year.

In California, the IRS referred about 540 cases to federal prosecutors in the last fiscal year. When adjusted for population, the odds of having a case referred to a federal prosecutor in the state are 15 per million, slightly higher than the national average.

When they do receive cases from the IRS, three of the state’s four U.S. attorneys prosecute alleged offenders at a rate above the national average, the data shows.

Across the country, close to 54 percent of all IRS referrals are prosecuted. In the eastern district covering Sacramento, that prosecution rate is about 62 percent. For the northern San Francisco and the southern San Diego districts, the prosecution rate is the same: 57.8 percent. For Los Angeles, the rate falls to 51.4 percent.

The IRS has several ways of enforcing tax law, including audits and civil charges.

“The heavy gun of the IRS is criminal enforcement, but it’s a much less frequent event,” said David Burnham, a co-director of the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse.

The federal tax filing deadline is tomorrow. But in the months leading up to that day, U.S. attorneys sometimes file several tax fraud indictments as a deterrent, Bowers said.

Since January, the U.S. attorney’s eastern district office has announced more than six fraud cases, including charges against three Sacramento women who are accused of trying to claim more than $1.3 million in fraudulent tax refunds. The scheme involved more than 280 false tax returns and numerous identify-theft victims.

According the the U.S. attorney’s office, the women filed fraudulent returns through TurboTax and obtained the tax service’s Green Dot debit cards “loaded with the tax return money.” The actual loss to the IRS was $962,079, out of the $1.3 million claimed by the women using various identities.

And late last month, the Los Angeles office announced that a former Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher, William S. Bene, had signed a plea agreement admitting that he did not pay taxes for an illegal business selling karaoke machines. The U.S. attorney’s office said Bene sold counterfeit karaoke jukeboxes and failed to report $600,000 in sales to the IRS.

As part of his plea agreement, the U.S. attorney said, Bene admitted he had illegally copied and sold karaoke songs on hard drives that each carried about 122,000 songs.

“Intellectual Property crimes are not victimless,” U.S. Attorney André Birotte Jr. said in a statement last month. “As this federal case shows, these crimes of stealth hurt the small businesses that do play by the rules, and they also deprive the federal government of tax revenue that could be put to beneficial use.””

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Two Physicians Indicted in an Alleged Conspiracy to Defraud the IRS by Concealing Their Income and Filing False Tax Returns

March 29, 2012

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on March 28, 2012 released the following:

“GREENBELT, MD—A federal grand jury has indicted cardiologist Abdul H. Fadul, age 75, and Ali Al-Attar, age 49, a doctor of internal medicine, of Alexandria and McLean, Virginia, respectively, today on charges of conspiracy to defraud the United States by attempting to hide their true income and aiding in the preparation of false tax returns.

The indictment was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Acting Special Agent in Charge Eric C. Hylton of the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, Washington, D.C. Field Office; Special Agent in Charge Richard A. McFeely of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; and Special Agent in Charge Nicholas DiGiulio, Office of Investigations, Office of Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services.

“This case should serve as a warning to anyone who is tempted to cheat on their taxes,” said U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein. “The IRS can and will pursue evidence of tax fraud and bring federal criminal charges.”

According to the indictment, Fadul and Al-Attar held joint ownership interests in nine medical practices located in Maryland and Virginia, with each medical practice having its own bank account. For tax years 2004 and 2005, Fadul and Al-Attar engaged an accounting firm in Maryland to prepare income tax returns for themselves and the joint medical practices. The defendants advised the accounting firm that it was standard practice for each of the joint medical practices to deposit the business receipts it generated, including payments from patients and insurance companies, into its own bank account. On March 26, 2004, Fadul and Al-Attar opened a joint bank account in their own names, into which they began depositing business receipts without telling their accountants.

The five-count indictment alleges that from March 26, 2004 through July 12, 2006, Fadul and Al-Attar conspired to defraud the U.S. by concealing their total income. Specifically, Fadul and Al-Attar deposited a total of over $500,000 in checks from patients and insurance companies for medical services rendered into the joint account in their names, rather than into the bank account of the medical practice that had generated the payment. The defendants then allegedly spent the money on personal items including real estate and other personal investments.

The indictment further alleges that Fadul opened a joint account with his wife and a separate account in his name only, which he then used to deposit payments from patients and insurance companies for services rendered by Fadul at medical practices he owned, including Cardio Vascular Center LLL, which Fadul owned with his wife. Fadul used the funds in both the joint account he owned with his wife and his personal account for his own enjoyment, including a $155,000 payment to the Fisher Island Club in Florida.

Fadul and Al-Attar concealed these personal accounts from the accounting firm, causing the accounting firm to prepare 2004 and 2005 income taxes for the doctors and their wives that fraudulently omitted the income the doctors had deposited into their personal accounts. Fadul and Al-Attar are both charged in the conspiracy and with aiding in the preparation of false tax returns for tax year 2005. Fadul is also charged with aiding in the preparation of false tax returns for tax years 2006 and 2007.

Fadul and Al-Attar face a maximum of five years in prison for the conspiracy. Al-Attar faces a maximum of three years in prison for aiding in the preparation of a false tax return and Fadul faces a maximum of three years in prison on each of three counts of aiding in the filing of false tax returns. No court appearance has been scheduled.

An indictment is not a finding of guilt. An individual charged by indictment is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at some later criminal proceedings.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein praised the IRS-CI, FBI, and HHS Office of Inspector General for their work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Special Assistant United States Attorney Daren Firestone and Assistant United States Attorney David I. Salem, who are prosecuting the case.”

US v Abdul H. Gadul and Ali Al-Attar – Federal Criminal Indictment

18 U.S.C. § 371

26 U.S.C. § 7206

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

Federal Crimes – Detention Hearing

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Crimes Watch Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Chicago Federal Grand Jury Indicted Five Chicago Individuals on Federal Fraud Charges for Allegedly Receiving Kickbacks totaling at least $800,000

July 15, 2011

The U.S. Attorney’s Office Northern District of Illinois on July 14, 2011 released the following:

“FORMER NORTH CHICAGO SCHOOL BOARD MEMBER AND TRANSPORTATION DIRECTOR AMONG FIVE DEFENDANTS INDICTED FOR ALLEGED ROLES IN $800,000 KICKBACK SCHEME INVOLVING STUDENT BUSING CONTRACTS

CHICAGO — A former North Chicago school board member and the district’s former transportation director were indicted on federal fraud charges for allegedly receiving kickbacks totaling at least $800,000 from three co-defendants who controlled several different companies that received at least $21 million in student bus contracts over nearly a decade. All five defendants were charged in a 26-count indictment alleging that, between 2001 and August 2010, they schemed to defraud and deprive the citizens of North Chicago, located in Lake County, and the approximately 4,000-student North Chicago Community Unit School District 187 (NCSD) of the honest services of former school board member Gloria Harper and former transportation director Alice Sherrod. The indictment was returned by a federal grand jury late yesterday and announced today by Patrick J. Fitzgerald, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; Robert D. Grant, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; and Alvin Patton, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division in Chicago. The North Chicago School District cooperated with the investigation.

Harper, 59, of North Chicago, who was a member of the NCSD board from 1999 to May 2009, and Sherrod, 59, of Gurnee, who was District 187’s transportation director from 2001 to July 2010, allegedly used their positions to enrich themselves secretly by soliciting and accepting gifts and cash from their three co-defendants in exchange for favorable official action regarding student transportation contracts. Initially, Harper and Sherrod allegedly received kickbacks of approximately $4,000 to $5,000 a month but, by 2003, they were collecting approximately $20,000 a month, the indictment alleges.

Also indicted were: Derrick Eubanks, 47, of Lake Villa; Tommie Boddie, 66, of Wadsworth; and Barrett White, 52, of Matteson. All five defendants were each charged with six counts of wire fraud and various counts of soliciting or paying bribes. All but White were also charged with multiple counts of filing false federal income tax returns. All five defendants will be arraigned on dates still to be determined in U.S. District Court.

The indictment seeks forfeiture of more than $9.67 million, as well as 48 buses and vans and seven personal automobiles.

According to the indictment, from the late 1990s until mid-2003, the NCSD contracted with various companies to provide student transportation, including T&M Transportation, which was owned at least in part and controlled by Boddie, and Eubanks Transportation, which was owned at least in part and controlled by Eubanks. In approximately 2001, Harper and Sherrod met with Boddie and told him they would arrange for the NCSD to increase the number of students that T&M transported if Boddie agreed to pay them in return, and Boddie agreed. At Harper’s request, White began acting as an intermediary, or “bagman,” receiving cash from Boddie, keeping some for himself, and providing the bulk to Harper, who, in turn, shared the money with Sherrod, the indictment alleges.

To facilitate his role as the scheme’s bagman, White established D’Amoto Transportation, which he used to funnel money from Boddie’s T&M company to Harper and Sherrod. Sometime in 2002 or 2003, White established BWT Transportation to replace D’Amoto. In approximately May 2003, Harper allegedly suggested to Boddie and Eubanks that they join together to form one company to bid on NCSD transportation contracts. Both Harper and Sherrod told Boddie and Eubanks that if they won the contract they would have to split the profits with the two school officials, and the two men agreed to do so, the charges allege. As a result, Boddie and Eubanks created Safety First Transportation, Inc., which won the NCSD’s transportation contract in 2003. Once Safety First began to receive school district payments, White allegedly converted Safety First’s funds into cash to pay Harper for her to share with Sherrod, while White kept a portion for himself. Neither White nor his company, BWT, did any work for Safety First and their sole role was to funnel cash to Harper
and Sherrod, according to the indictment.

As a result of an IRS audit of Safety First in 2006-2007, Safety First began providing funds to White as an employee, as well as continuing to provide him with funds as a contractor, in late 2006, even though he continued to provide no service other than paying kickbacks as an intermediary.

Also as a result of the audit, Harper allegedly agreed that White’s portion of the proceeds should be increased to compensate him for the tax debt White owed the IRS. All five defendants agreed that an amount of Safety First’s revenues from the NCSD would be excluded from the profits to be split with Harper and Sherrod and instead would be used to repay tax debts owed by Boddie, Eubanks and White, the charges allege.

The fraud scheme and individual tax counts allege that Boddie and Eubanks filed false federal tax returns for Safety First claiming that they paid White hundreds of thousands of dollars in consulting fees and wages for assisting them in obtaining the transportation contract with NCSD. In fact, the indictment alleges that money paid to White was intended solely to fund the kickbacks to Harper and Sherrod in exchange for helping them win and maintain the transportation contract.

In April 2008, the defendants allegedly agreed to set up a new company, Quality Trans, LLC, to replace Safety First and to assume its contracts with the school district. All five allegedly agreed to split among them Quality Trans’s profits, and Boddie, Eubanks and White continued to make cash payments to Harper and Sherrod. In June 2009, Quality Trans won a five-year contract to provide NCSD with transportation services.

Various tax counts allege that Boddie and Eubanks took false deductions for the money that Safety First paid to White and which White then funneled as kickbacks to Harper and Sherrod. Other tax counts allege that Harper and Sherrod filed false individual tax returns failing to report the kickbacks they received as income.

The government is being represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Matthew Getter and Greg Deis.

Each count of wire fraud carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, and each count of soliciting or paying bribes carries a maximum of 10 years in prison, as well as a $250,000 fine. As an alternative, the Court may impose a maximum fine totaling twice the loss to any victim or twice the gain to any defendant, whichever is greater, and restitution is mandatory. Filing a false federal income tax return carries a maximum penalty of three years in prison and a $250,000 fine. In addition, a defendant convicted of tax offenses faces mandatory costs of prosecution and remains civilly liable to the Government for any and all back taxes, as well as a civil fraud penalty of 75 percent of the underpayment plus interest. If convicted, the Court must determine a reasonable sentence to impose under the advisory United States Sentencing Guidelines.

The public is reminded that an indictment contains only charges and is not evidence of guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent and are entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.”

To find additional federal criminal news, please read The Federal Crimes Watch Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN List Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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James E. Moss, Who Owned and Operated “Flash Tax,” was Federally Indicted with Four of His Employees By A Federal Grand Jury Sitting in Montgomery, Alabama

June 16, 2011

U.S. Department of Justice on June 16, 2011 released the following press release:

Five Alabama Tax Return Preparers Charged with Tax Fraud

WASHINGTON – A group of five tax return preparers were indicted in the Middle District of Alabama on tax fraud charges, the Justice Department and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced today. James E. Moss, who owned and operated “Flash Tax,” was charged with four of his employees by a grand jury sitting in Montgomery, Ala. Moss along with Lutoyua N. Thompson, Chiquita Q. Broadnax, Avada L. Jenkins and Melinda M. Lambert were each charged with one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States and 27 counts of assisting in the preparation of false tax returns.

According to the indictment, the group conspired to knowingly place false information on taxpayers’ returns in order to obtain higher tax refunds from the IRS. The indictment further alleges that the group sought at least $129,266 in fraudulent tax refunds from the IRS.

An indictment merely alleges that a crime has been committed, and a defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. If convicted, each defendant faces a maximum of 86 years in prison.

The case is being investigated by IRS-Criminal Investigation and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Todd Brown and by Tax Division Trial Attorneys Charles M. Edgar, Jr. and Michael Boteler.”

To find additional federal criminal news, please read The Federal Crimes Watch Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN List Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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