New York CPA Pleads Guilty to Bank Fraud and Tax Evasion, Faces 30 Years in Prison

According to a press release by the Department of Justice, a New York Certified Public Accountant pled guilty to tax evasion and bank fraud earlier this month. Joseph Stevens, 53, of Olean, New York is facing up to 30 years in prison and criminal fines up to $1 million for siphoning a client’s money into his own pocket, lying about the state of the client’s business, and failing to file tax returns on behalf of his client.

Prosecutors alleged that in mid-2012, Stevens was hired to take care of several financial responsibilities of the business, including preparing and filing tax returns, bookkeeping, payroll, and paying vendors. Stevens was provided access to the business’s bank account in order to perform his duties.

In 2016, the business owner that hired Stevens inquired as to why a $30,000 line of credit was completely maxed out without the owner’s authorization. Stevens responded that the business was in poor financial health and was not generating sufficient revenue. Later that year, the IRS contacted the business owner informing him that the business’s 2015 tax liability had not been paid. Upon inquiry, Stevens again told the business owner that the business was not generating sufficient revenue.

Becoming increasingly suspicious of wrongdoing, the business owner visited the bank with which the business had an account. After reviewing bank statements that Stevens had diverted away business address, he discovered that nearly $350,000 had been withdrawn without authorization and over 39 checks were forged, the proceeds going directly into Stevens’ pocket.

Business owners are responsible for the timely filing of the business’s tax return, regardless of whether they have hired a professional to prepare and file on their behalf. Although tax preparers can be sued if problems arise, the ultimate responsibility rests with the business owner. This personal liability necessitates business owners to be extremely comfortable with their tax preparer and tax advisor.

The tax and accounting professionals at the Tax Law Offices of David W. Klasing have extensive experience representing small to medium-sized businesses in various matters, including providing tax compliance and consulting services to reduce taxes through entirely legal means. Whether you are seeking advice relating to payroll tax, business tax, or state and local tax, our zealous advocates are ready to help assist. Tax matters surrounding your business should not keep you up at night. Contact the Tax Law Offices of David W. Klasing today for a reduced-rate consultation.

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Here is a link to our YouTube channel: click here!

Here is a link to our practice overview video on warning signs that an audit has gone criminal.

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