Watchdog

Tax

Inmates turn incarceration into profit

At least 50 detainees at the Stock Island Detention Center near Key West, Florida, figured out how to scam the Internal Revenue Service out of $100,000 in bogus tax refunds.
Tax

Sacramento accountant with lavish lifestyle charged with stealing from clients

A prominent Sacramento CPA has been accused of stealing more than $13.3 million from his clients, according to reports.
Tax

The King of Ponzi schemes goes to jail

Allen Stanford is a 59 year-old Texas billionaire - worth about $2.2 billion according to Forbes - with homes in Texas, Florida, St. Croix, and Antigua. He's a golf and cricket promoter. He's a dual citizen of the United States and the nation of Antigua and Barbuda, and he's the first person knighted by Antigua and Barbuda (in 2006). And... he's currently sitting in a Houston jail. Last Thursday, June 18, he surrendered to the FBI and on Friday, he was in court in Richmond, Virginia to face criminal charges in a sealed 21-count indictment.
Tax

"Salt of the Earth" accountant finds prostitution doesn't pay

Last year, Phoenix police shut down a large prostitution ring involving more than 100 prostitutes, some of whom still lived at home with their parents. So far, the participant facing the harshest penalty is the group's accountant, 57-year-old Peter Shifman.When he was arrested last August, Shifman's home and vehicle were also seized. Neighbors in his quiet rural community were stunned, refusing at first to believe the charges.
Tax

Accountant charged with threatening life of prosecutor

Manhattan District Attorney Robert M.
Tax

IRS clerical error... or Senatorial scofflaw? Kerry campaign has tax woes

When Senator John Kerry (D-MA) ran for president in 2004, naturally he had a significant staff helping him. The IRS has taken the position that in the process of hiring and employing these people... the Kerry campaign overlooked one minor detail: They failed to pay payroll taxes on campaign staff. That's why earlier this year in the District of Columbia, the tax agency filed a lien against the campaign in the amount of $819,848. The lien is standard procedure when a tax liability goes unpaid, and is intended as a claim on property to make sure the IRS can collect the debt.
Tax

Another celebrity in the IRS spotlight: Robin Givens

More and more, it seems, celebrities are making themselves at home in the arena of tax troubles. The latest entertainer to spar with the IRS over unpaid taxes is Robin Givens, former wife of heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson. The 44-year-old actress is being sued by the U.S. Government for what it says is $292,000 in unpaid federal taxes, interest, and penalties dating back to 1996.
Tax

Wisconsin investment advisor charged with engaging in kickback scheme

The Securities and Exchange Commission has obtained an emergency court order to freeze the assets of an Appleton, WI-based investment adviser charged with engaging in a kickback scheme and other fraudulent conduct involving six unregistered investment pools it managed.The SEC alleges that James Putman, who is the founder, majority owner, and CEO of Wealth Management LLC, and Simone Fevola, who is the firm's former President and Chief Investment Officer, each accepted $1.24 million in undisclosed payments derived from investments made by the unregistered investment pools.
Tax

'Bad guy' tax preparers keep courts busy

Even with government agencies that include the Secret Service and the Tax Division of the Justice Department working with the Internal Revenue Service to identify offenders, there is no shortage in the number of tax preparers accused of engaging in fraud.
Tax

Some California celebrities are in the public eye for owing taxes

California has more than its share of tax cheats, and since so many TV and movie actors call southern California home, a few of them made the rolls of scofflaws this year, and last year, and the year before... some of them have been haunting the tax cheat rolls for a decade. Given the sorry state of California's economy, it would be hard to blame Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger for rattling the saber a little bit at his fellow entertainers who owe back taxes.
Tax

Third promoter of Wesley Snipes’s tax strategy faces prison

Jerry R. Williamson, who allegedly promoted tax avoidance strategies to the actor Wesley Snipes and thousands of other customers of the Florida-based American Rights Litigators/Guiding Light of God Ministries (ARL), pleaded guilty to mail fraud in Federal court in Washington DC on Friday April 24 in connection with the schemes. Williamson, who was indicted last year along with Snipes's tax adviser Eddie Ray Kahn and three other associates, faces up to 20 years in prison. Williamson admitted that he that he sent a fictitious "Bill of Exchange" purporting to be drawn upon the U.S.
Tax

Alexis Stewart, Martha's daughter, suing CPA over tax return

Alexis Stewart, the daughter of world-famous Martha Stewart, is suing her accountant over a tax return that she said contained mistakes costing her hundreds of thousands of dollars.A radio and TV host, Stewart, 43, filed a lawsuit earlier this month contending that CPA Michael Mirras, who she hired to do her 2002 tax return, miscalculated the amount she owed the IRS, according to the Washington Post.
Tax

Castroneves found not guilty of tax evasion

By midday Friday it looked like Helio Castroneves would be biting his nails through the weekend, waiting for the jury to continue deliberating this week. But by the end of the day Friday... he walked out of the courthouse, free. After six weeks of trial and another six days of deliberation, the jury deadlocked on the key charge of conspiracy. U.S. District Court Judge Donald Graham declared a mistrial on the conspiracy charge and told Castroneves he was free to go. On his way out people everywhere, including court officials, congratulated him. "Go get 'em, Helio," said a U.S.
Tax

Castroneves tax trial diary - The wait is over

Friday, April 17, 2009Helio Castroneves and his sister Katiucia have been acquitted on all counts of tax evasion. The jury remained hung on one conspiracy charge against each of the Castroneves defendants. Castroneves's Michigan lawyer, Alan Miller, was acquitted on the conspiracy count and three counts of tax evasion. Friday, April 17, 2009For a second time, the Castroneves defense team has filed a motion for a mistrial, and for a second time, Judge Donald Graham denied the request.
Practice Management

Don't let trade secrets leave with employees

Desperate times can sometimes result in desperate measures. During an economic downturn, the pressure to generate revenue can be great. Economic espionage can result when employees are forced to come up with the next big idea or they have financial difficulties. Economic espionage is defined as the theft or misappropriation of trade secrets.
Tax

Snipes violated court order but gets a pass

Updated April 3, 2009 - Last July, Wesley Snipes was acquitted of the worst of the tax evasion charges against him, but was still sentenced to 36 months in prison and ordered to pay a $5 million fine. Snipes remains free on bail while he appeals the decision, but Senior U.S. District Judge William Terrell Hodges limited Snipes's foreign travel to London and Bangkok while the actor completed work on movies. In November, Snipes violated that restriction by attending a party for a resort opening in Dubai.
Tax

Tax partner at major international firm charged with tax crimes

A Newark, NJ, federal grand jury has returned an indictment charging Stephen A. Favato, a resident of Point Pleasant Beach, NJ, and a partner at a major international accounting firm, apparently, BDO Seidman, with tax charges for attempting to assist one of his clients evade income taxes, the Justice Department and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced Wednesday.
Tax

Former CPA indicted for fraud, tax evasion

A Bakersfield, CA, man, his sister, and her husband have been indicted for conspiracy to defraud the IRS and four counts of tax evasion.An Omaha grand jury handed down the indictment last month against Michael Koning and Susan Baisden-Koning of Victor, MT, and her brother, Lowell Baisden. The indictment accuses the three of hatching a scheme to avoid paying $989,000 of the Koning's individual federal income taxes.
Tax

Madoff’s accountant: When is an auditor not an auditor?

The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and the New York State Society of CPAs expelled David Friehling, of Friehling & Horowitz, CPAs (F&H) from membership on March 18th following an ethics investigation. Friehling was charged on that same day by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) with falsely certifying that he prepared the audit statements of Bernard Madoff's broker-dealer firm (Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC – BMIS or BLMIS) in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP).
Tax

IRS employee charged with filing false returns, illegal access to data

Timothy M. Morrison, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana, announced that Andrea M. Bennett, 41, Indianapolis, Indiana, has been charged with illegally accessing IRS computers and filing false claims against the government, following an investigation by the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division, and the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. The information alleges that Bennett was employed in Indianapolis as a contact representative for the IRS, providing information to taxpayers and making adjustments to their tax accounts.

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