Watchdog

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.
Tax

Claiming a Warren Buffett connection couldn't save these investment bad guys

The Securities and Exchange Commission has obtained an emergency court order to halt an ongoing scheme by a Palmdale, CA company and two individuals who defrauded investors through a series of false claims including that Warren Buffett is associated with the company.The SEC alleges that International Realty Holdings, Inc. (IRH), Ottoniel Medrano, and Leticia Isabel Medrano raised hundreds of thousands of dollars from investors in several states since October 2008. Ottoniel Medrano is a prison guard at California City Correctional Center.
Tax

SEC freezes assets of Chicago-area investment advisor

The Securities and Exchange Commission has obtained an emergency court order freezing the assets of a Chicago-area investment adviser and two of its principals who are alleged to have misappropriated more than $4 million in client assets by transferring them to third parties, and incorrectly reported the net asset and other investment values to investors.The SEC charged The Nutmeg Group LLC, owner and managing member Randall Goulding, and chief compliance officer David Goulding for misappropriating client assets, making misrepresentations to their clients, failing to comply with Nutmeg's cu
Tax

Former BDO Seidman vice chair pleads guilty to tax fraud

Adrian Dicker, a United Kingdom chartered accountant and former vice chairman and board member at a major international accounting firm, has pleaded guilty to conspiring with certain tax shelter promoters to defraud the United States in connection with tax shelter transactions involving clients of the accounting firm and the law firm Jenkens & Gilchrist (J&G), the Justice Department and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced. In the hearing before U.S. Magistrate Judge Theodore H.
A&A

Small businesses found to be especially vulnerable to fraud

According to a report released by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE), U.S. organizations lose an estimated seven percent of their annual revenues to fraud – but the damage is the worst among small businesses. Among the fraud cases detailed for the survey, the median loss suffered by organizations with fewer than 100 employees was $200,000, higher than the median loss for larger organizations.
Tax

Former BDO Seidman partner pleads guilty in multi-million dollar tax shelter scheme

Michael Kerekes, a former principal and attorney at BDO Seidman, pleaded guilty to a tax shelter scheme that prosecutors allege helped wealthy investors stay wealthy by avoiding $200 million in taxes. The Chicago Tribune reported that Kerekes, who lives in Santa Monica, CA, said he knew what he was doing was against the law during the plea in Manhattan federal court. He is cooperating with an ongoing investigation of tax work performed by his former employer.
Tax

Bounty hunter Duane "Dog" Chapman hounded by the IRS

His accountant says it's all a matter of bad timing. Duane "Dog" Chapman is the owner of Dakine Bail Bonds in Honolulu, but is more well-known as the star of the A&E reality show, "Dog and the Bounty Hunter."According to tax liens filed at the Hawaii Bureau of Conveyances filed January 27, Chapman owes $2 million in unpaid taxes that go back as far as 2002. Not that he hasn't had his share of tax woes before...
Tax

Did golf pro Jim Thorpe slice the IRS?

Three years of unpaid taxes, from 2002, 2003, and 2004... that's the bunker Jim Thorpe finds himself stuck in. Charges were filed in an Orlando, Florida federal court accusing Thorpe of failing to pay federal taxes – amounting to $1.6 million - on income of more than $5.2 million earned during that three year period.The U.S. Attorney's office in Orlando told reporters that in addition to the $1.6 million in taxes due, Thorpe is looking at a $3.2 million fine, and a possible seven year jail term, for failing to file income tax returns and three counts of failing to pay taxes.

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