Another bad accountant? Michigan man arrested on multiple schemes

If you can't depend on your accountant to be honest with the numbers, who can you depend on?   Robert Denboer Jr., age 33, of Houghton Lake, Michigan is looking at 41 to 51 months in federal prison for various schemes that bilked clients out of more than $900,000.  

Denboer Jr., owned Denboer Accountants, Inc., a tax preparation and accounting business in Houghton Lake.  Court records indicate that at some point after 2000, Denboer Jr. began siphoning money from the refund anticipation loans of his clients.  He is accused of preparing two tax returns for clients, each with different refunds amounts. He would present the client with a copy of the return for the lesser amount, but file the return that brought a higher refund. He would then skim off the difference into his own account.

When he realized the IRS was breathing down his neck, he instructed his attorney to show tax agents copies of checks that he claimed to have sent to the affected clients, along with letters that admitted the fraud and explained that the checks were reimbursements.  Eventually the IRS determined that the letters and checks were never mailed.  Meanwhile, Denboer Jr.  continued this  practice in 2004, 2005, and 2006, eventually defrauding 67 clients, according to authorities.

This is not Denboer's first brush with the IRS. Earlier this year, on April 23, a press release revealed that he was indicted on 16 counts of filing false 941 forms, which he signed under penalty of perjury, and 19 counts of money laundering, one count of making a false statement to IRS criminal investigation agents, and one count of forging an endorsement with intent to defraud. The press release was issued by the United States Attorney, Terrence Berg and IRS Special Agent in Charge, Maurice M. Aouate and FBI Agent in Charge, Andrew G. Arena.

As president of a separate company known as Payroll Specialists, Denboer Jr. prepared and filed inaccurate quarterly withholding forms 941, for various clients, showing taxes due of over $688,000. The indictment alleges that the 941s listed tax deposits which were never actually paid to the IRS.  Instead, Denboer Jr. transferred more than $268,000 of the withheld taxes into accounts under his control.

In addition, he is accused of applying for and receiving a business line of credit under the name of Robert Denboer Sr. and forging a treasury check in the amount of $7,500.

Regarding the Denboer case, Special Agent-in-Charge Aouate said in a statement, "An accountant should be a client's first resource against fraud. "IRS Criminal Investigation will vigorously investigate those individuals who used this trust to financially hurt and take advantage of unsuspecting taxpayers." 

Denboer Jr., has pleaded guilty to willfully filing false tax returns and wire fraud. Denboer Jr. will be sentenced on March 10th in Bay City, Michigan under U.S. District Court Judge, Thomas L. Ludington.

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