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. They also allegedly helped others in the North Platte, ND, area, where the Konings once lived, to evade another $579,000 in taxes.

According to the North Platte Bulletin, Koning operated Anesthesia Consultants of Nebraska Inc. with his wife. Her brother, Lowell Baisden, a CPA who has since lost his license, offered accounting and tax services to clients in California, Nebraska, and other states. Baisden allegedly set up dummy corporations for doctors and other professionals to hide tax liability. Personal income was funneled through the corporations, which paid out small salaries and living expenses, federal officials told the newspaper. Baisden's clients paid him a monthly fee for the various transactions, and he prepared corporate and individual tax returns.

Fellow physicians and employees phoned in suspicions of illegal activity to the IRS, which began an investigation in 2005 with the U.S. Treasury Department.

In 2006, the Justice Department sued Baisden, contending that he promoted two tax fraud schemes. In one, the sham corporations were used to claim improper tax deductions for utilities, medical bills, vacations, personal vehicles, and the like. In the second scam, according to the lawsuit, customers diverted income to a corporation operated by Baisden.

The North Platte Telegraph reported that several health care professionals in North Platte were recruited for Baisden's tax fraud plan with help from Koning, who provided services at the Great Plains Regional Medical Center (GPRMC) from 1997 through 2004.

In November 2007, a California judge issued an order to revoke Baisden's license as a CPA following a hearing before the California Board of Accountancy.

And then in March of 2008, Michael Koning filed his own lawsuit against Baisden, accusing his brother-in-law of professional negligence and misrepresentation. The North Platte Bulletin reported, "A source close to the investigation, who preferred to remain anonymous, said Koning would pitch the scheme to physicians and other employees of GPRMC and set up meetings when Baisden flew into town. But in his lawsuit Koning maintains Baisden duped him."

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