Running a business is a difficult endeavor. Costs change and frequently seem to overrun even your most exacting estimates. In other cases a sudden or seasonal downturn in business can hit at exactly the wrong moment throwing the chances of your company’s continued viability into disarray. For many business owners it seems that setbacks and problems appear at the worst possible moment. Thus, many business owners come to believe that they have a simple choice: cut cost or lose the company.
Unfortunately, many business owners decide to make-up for unexpected expenses, lower than projected revenues, and other problems by cheating on their personal taxes, business taxes, or both. Business owners that cheat on payroll taxes can face personal liability for their failures.
From 2006 through 2009, Jon DiBernardo was the owner of Water Street Landing. Water Street Landing is a high-end restaurant located not far from Niagara Falls in New York. According to charges filed by prosecutors, DiBernardo submitted inaccurate income tax returns to the IRS. The inaccurate forms understated the revenue of the business in order to evade tax legally due and owing. Additionally DiBernardo was also charged with evading paying payroll tax by keeping employees off of them books and paying them under the table. In all, the IRS claimed DiBernardo’s fraudulent filing activities resulted in more than $400,000 in income being concealed from the IRS. DiBernardo’s activities regarding off the books employees resulted in a failure to report $285,705 in employee wages. DiBernardo’s fraudulent filing actions cost the government $111,377 in revenue while the failure to pay employment taxes resulted in a government loss of about $43,000.
DiBernardo has plead guilty to one count of tax evasion. If he faces the maximum penalty he could be subject to a five year prison sentence, a fine of $100,000, or both.
Tax preparers can also face serious penalties due to fraudulent actions taken for their own gain or for the gain of their clients. For this tax preparer, the motive was greed and personal enrichment. Tax preparer Lasondra Miles Davis and her mother Teresa Floyd ran a number of tax preparation businesses like T&L Tax Service. Through her tax preparation companies Davis and Floyd obtained personally identifying information from her clients. Davis and Floyd committed identity theft and used this information to file more than 900 fraudulent income tax returns. The 900 fraudulent returns requested more than $2.5 million in fraudulent refunds.
Davis pleaded guilty to a single count of aggravated ID theft earlier in 2015. This past week she appeared in court for sentencing. Davis was sentenced to serve a two year federal prison sentence. After release she will continue to serve one year of supervised release. Davis must also make restitution to the IRS for her involvement in the stolen ID scheme. Floyd also pleaded guilty earlier this year entering her plea for one count of conspiracy to defraud the U.S. and a single count of aggravated ID theft. Floyd is still awaiting sentencing.
If you have been charged with serious tax crimes, the stakes are simply too high to face the experienced IRS agents and prosecutors from the Department of Justice alone. The agents and prosecutors are experienced and strategic in their actions and requests because they pursue taxpayers for tax crimes and violations every day.
As a taxpayer and U.S. citizen you deserve to be able to present your side of the story and any mitigating or explaining factors. However, taxpayers who are unfamiliar with the system, its requirements, and deadlines can easily make an inadvertent and inaccurate admissions, exacerbate problems with their position through a key omission, or miss an essential filing deadline. Working with an experienced and dedicated tax fraud defense lawyer can increase the chances that you will be able to mitigate the consequences you face. To schedule a reduced-rate, private consultation with an experienced and dedicated tax attorney call the Tax Law Offices of David W. Klasing today by calling 800-681-1295 or contact us online.