CPA Accused of Tax Fraud Is Now Suspect in Plot to Murder Witnesses
by AccountingWEB on
By AccountingWEB Staff
A San Diego-area CPA, heading to trial on an $11 million tax fraud scheme, has been arrested for allegedly plotting to hire an acquaintance to murder two people planning to testify for the prosecution.
According to news reports, the FBI stated that Steven Martinez, age fifty-one, of Ramona, California, was arrested March 2 without incident. A second man was also arrested that night in relation to the alleged plot: Norman Russell Thellmann, age sixty, a former limousine driver for Martinez. Thellmann is accused of accepting money to pass on to a proposed hit man. FBI agents found $42,500 in cash in a cereal box in a kitchen cupboard in Thellmann's residence.
U.S. District Court papers say Martinez offered a former employee $100,000 in cash to kill the two female witnesses, provided the man with photos and personal information about the women, and suggested he use a gun with a silencer. The acquaintance notified the FBI, and Martinez, a former IRS agent, was arrested two days later.
Martinez now faces witness-tampering charges in addition to filing false tax returns, money laundering, identity theft, mail fraud, and other criminal counts. Court papers say his tax fraud scheme involved preparing tax returns that showed his clients owing a significant amount of tax. He then diverted his clients' payments to his own account and submitted returns that showed much smaller liabilities. He is accused of defrauding the IRS and the California Franchise Tax Board of more $11 million owed by his clients.
Martinez and Thellmann, accused of conspiring to tamper with a witness, appeared before a federal judge on March 5 but did not enter pleas.
You may like these other stories...
Ernst & Young 2013 audit deficiency rate 49%, regulators sayMichael Rapoport of the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday that the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) found deficiencies in 28 of the...
Some of your clients may get away to business conventions from time to time. It gives them a chance to rub shoulders with colleagues, catch up on the latest developments, and fine-tune their skills. And, when the meetings or...
PwC must face $1 billion lawsuit over MF Global adviceA federal judge on Wednesday ordered PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) to face a $1 billion lawsuit claiming that its bad accounting advice was a substantial cause of the...
Upcoming CPE Webinars
In this session we'll discuss the types of technologies and their uses in a small accounting firm office.
Transfer your knowledge and experience to prepare your team for the challenges and opportunities of an accounting career.
This webcast will include discussions of commonly-applicable Clarified Auditing Standards for audits of non-public, non-governmental entities.
In this jam-packed presentation Excel expert David Ringstrom, CPA will give you a crash-course in creating spreadsheet-based dashboards. A dashboard condenses large amounts of data into a compact space, yet enables the end user to easily drill down into details when warranted.