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.


A Quick Look At How The FBI Turns Insider Traders Into Informants

January 20, 2012
FBI
Wikimedia Commons

Business Insider on January 19, 2012 released the following:

“Yesterday, three people were arrested and seven people were charged in a hedge fund insider trading scandal that prosecutors are calling, “the circle of friends.”

At the press conference U.S. Attorney General Preet Bharara showed an infographic depicting the circle of four guys in New York, Boston, and San Francisco sharing information about Dell, and then passing that knowledge up to their supervisors at hedge funds Diamondback Capital and Level Global.

It was a “tight knit circle of greed,” said Bharara, where these men got an “illegal inside edge over law abiding investors.”

Okay, tight knit. But if it’s so tight knit, what does the FBI do to get inside?

Business Insider spoke to attorney Jeffrey Smith, a partner at DeCotiis, FitzPatrick & Cole. A former assistant U.S. Attorney, Smith is now in private practice specializing in the defense of individuals in cases against the Department of Justice, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

In short, white collar crime.

“The government’s got a good run here,” said Smith. In this case, “they probably have cooperating witnesses, tapes…” all a defense lawyer can do is go through discovery and try to find the holes in the government’s evidence.”

It’s a tough job that becomes a lot tougher if the FBI has flipped someone on the inside. That’s what happened in this case, as two analysts from the hedge funds (Spyridon “Sam” Adondakis and Jesse Tortora), and the man who was passing them information from Dell (Sandeep Goyal) were/are cooperating with authorities.

Smith explained how that might happen.

“A pair of agents might show up at your house really early in the morning or late at night when no one is around,” he said. “They’ll use a combination of threats and inducements… They’ll say there’s overwhelming evidence against you. Overwhelming force is their first technique.”

Basically, the agents will say, we have such and such information on you, but if you’re willing to help us out we can help you. They may also say they have information on a friend of family member’s insider trading activity, though that’s less common.

Smith also said that the fact that prosecutors are revealing the identities of informants means that the government has probably gotten all the useful information they can out of them.

On the other hand that doesn’t mean that all the information connected to this case is out. There could be more informants who remain unknown because they still have information to share. Specifically, in this case, we still don’t know who was passing Goyal information from inside of Dell — that could be nothing, but its an example of a big, important question that remains unanswered here. When reporters asked about that at the press conference, Bharara just said he wasn’t sharing any information beyond what could be found in the complaint.

“There’s every indication that the government has more in the pipeline,” said Smith. “Things have changed a lot. Five or ten years ago it (insider trading) was little prosecuted, sentences were like tax offenses. I don’t think they (insider traders) have illusions about that anymore.””

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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

————————————————————–

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 McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.