Sentencing for Tax Fraud Once Again Proves You Can’t Hide Behind Your Reputation, Office, or Job

It is something of a common refrain on this blog, but it bears repeating: You will not be immunized from suspicion of tax fraud regardless of your level of success, community standing, or offices you hold. Unfortunately, many people still seem to believe that these and other characteristics place them in a position where their conduct and dealings are beyond reproach. All too often, these professionals and others with high standing in the community are brought back down to earth when an audit or investigation reveal fraud leading to a subsequent conviction or guilty plea. Not only do these individuals lose the reputation they worked so hard to build, but also they face serious criminal penalties.

If you are considering committing tax fraud because you believe that you will never be suspected of the crime, think again. If you are already are facing a tax audit or charges for failing to report income connected to the fraud, contact an experienced tax lawyer today. The aggressive and strategic tax lawyers of The Tax Law Offices of David W. Klasing can fight to mitigate the consequences you face. Schedule a reduced-rate, confidential tax consultation by calling 800-681-1295 today.

transparent-klasing-logo-1.75x1.75Former State Senator Pleaded Guilty to Tax & Wire Fraud Charges

Rick Brinkley fits the archetypical model for a person that most people would simply never suspect of being capable of wrongdoing. Brinkley is a minister and an individual who proudly served as the public face of an organization commonly associated with trust. As the public face of the Better Business Bureau in the Tulsa area, Brinkley served as President/CEO of Eastern Oklahoma's Better Business Bureau from 1999 to 2011 and then as the company’s Chief Operating Officer. Brinkley was also a Republican State Senator who was closely associated with moral values.

However, the first public signs of Brinkley’s problems likely emerged in April 2015 when he was fired by the BBB. Apparently, an audit of the company revealed irregularities relating back to Brinkley. Then in June of 2015, Brinkley resigned from his leadership positions in the State Senate. At the same time, it was announced that Brinkley was under investigation for embezzlement by the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation and a campaign funding investigation by the Oklahoma Ethics Commission.

In August of 2015, Brinkley announced his resignation from his State Senate seat citing personal reasons. As it later became clear, at the time of his resignation Brinkley was being sued by his former employer for using company money to pay expenses related to “his mortgage, pool cleaner, personal credit card invoices, and to support a hidden gambling habit, in an amount believed to be in excess of $1,000,000.” While the resignation was originally announced to be effective on December 31, 2015, Brinkley resigned, effective immediately, on August 20, 2015, after prosecutors announced wire fraud and tax evasion charges.

News reports from earlier in the summer of 2015 indicate that many believed that Brinkley was in line to become the next leader of the state Senate. But, with one pull at a thread of Brinkley’s fraud, everything came apart in rapid fashion.

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Former State Senator to Face More Than Three Year Prison Sentence

Even if their status and reputation do not protect them from suspicion, many people believe that it will mitigate the penalties they may face. However, the former state Senator with a once sterling reputation will now face a 37-month prison sentence for his wire fraud and tax evasion scheme. Following release from prison, the former senator will serve three years of supervised release. Brinkley has also been ordered to repay $1.8 million in restitution to the BBB.

The severity of Brinkley’s sentence was like influenced by the victim impact statement issued by the BBB. The organization stated that “The defendant, Ricky Brinkley, was the Chief Executive Officer of BBB Tulsa for approximately 12 years and it’s Chief Operating Officer for approximately 4 years. Mr. Brinkley secretly embezzled more than $1.8 million over at least a five year period. It is without question that Mr. Brinkley’s fraudulent criminal behavior over many years has severely damaged BBB Tulsa, a non-profit institution whose mission is to promote honesty, integrity and transparency in the business community. In addition to the massive amount of money embezzled by Mr. Brinkley, BBB Tulsa lost more than 500 accredited businesses as members, principally in due to the public scandal created by Mr. Brinkley’s defalcation. This loss of members resulted in a reduction in dues revenue in 2015 of more than $250,000.

Facing a Tax Audit with Underlying Criminal Issues?

If you are facing a tax audit with underlying criminal issues, the eggshell audit can lead to significant fines and penalties. Protect yourself by working with an experienced tax attorney who can take a strategic approach to the audit and act as a buffer between you and the auditor. As a former public auditor, David Klasing understands auditing strategies and techniques. He can often anticipate and plan for strategies the auditor will employ. To schedule a reduced-rate consultation call The Tax Law Offices of David W. Klasing at 800-681-1295 for an appointment at our Los Angeles or Orange County tax law offices.

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