Accountants Behaving Badly: Rogue Tax Preparers, Suzuki Theft, Kiddie Porn

Plus, Filipino accountant gets jail time for embezzlement, and a CFO will spend time in a Canadian prison for stealing money to fund her opioid addiction.

Former New Haven tax preparer pleads guilty [Justice Department]
Devon Williams pleaded guilty on Oct. 2 to one count of aiding and assisting the preparation of a false tax return, which carries a maximum sentence of three years in prison.

Between approximately 2014 and 2017, Williams, 30, who owned Perfect Preparers LLC, a tax preparation business in New Haven, CT, prepared several federal tax returns for clients that contained false deductions, including deductions for unreimbursed employee expenses, charitable donations, and mortgage interest. Some returns also contained false Schedule C information.

In pleading guilty, Williams agreed that losses suffered by the IRS as a result of the fraud totaled more than $550,000.

Williams was released on $150,000 bond. His sentencing has been scheduled for Dec. 27, 2019.

As a result of Williams’ fraud, many of his clients’ filed tax returns will need to be amended, authorities said.

Nevada tax return preparer pleads guilty to tax crimes [Justice Department]
Michael Sandoval pleaded guilty on Oct. 1 to one count of tax evasion, one count of aiding and assisting in the preparation and filing of a false tax return, and one count of making and subscribing a false tax return, which caused a total tax loss of more than $3.4 million.

Michael Sandoval

Sandoval provided payroll and tax preparation services for individuals and companies through his Las Vegas business Nevada Financial Solutions Inc. (NFS). Sandoval used NFS to commit multiple tax crimes, authorities said:

  • When two of his clients provided NFS with $471,178 in payments to be forwarded to the IRS as money due for their quarterly employment taxes, Sandoval didn’t provide those payments to the IRS, but instead spent the funds for his personal benefit.
  • Sandoval filed and caused the filing of false individual income tax returns for a substantial number of clients by reporting fraudulent deductions, including false Schedule C business losses and charitable contribution and state and local tax deductions. These fraudulent deductions caused a tax loss of over $2.8 million.
  • Sandoval fraudulently understated his income from NFS on his individual income tax returns for the years 2010 through 2017, causing an additional tax loss of $100,138.

In total, Sandoval caused a tax loss totaling $3,425,654. He will be sentenced on Jan. 9, 2020.

Philadelphia tax preparer convicted of preparing false tax return [Justice Department]
Abdoulaye Coumbassa pleaded guilty on Oct. 1 to aiding and assisting in the preparation of a false tax return.

From at least 2012 to 2015, Coumbassa, who owned Abbi Tax Services and Accounting, prepared and filed fraudulent Forms 1040 and related forms and schedules on behalf of his clients with the IRS. Coumbassa allegedly falsified clients’ returns by, among other things, attaching false Schedules C to the clients’ 1040s. These Schedules C falsely claimed that the client had a business that lost money, which loss was used to offset taxable income and therefore inflate the refunds or create a refund rather than tax due and owing.

Coumbassa agreed in his plea agreement that a reasonable estimate of the total tax loss exceeded $2 million.

He will be sentenced on Jan. 30, 2020.

Yorba Linda accountant arrested on suspicion of embezzling $1.8 million from Suzuki of America in Brea [Orange County Register]
Bonnie Mullion, an accountant who worked for almost four decades at Suzuki Motor of America’s headquarters in Brea, CA, was arrested at her home on Oct. 3 for allegedly stealing nearly $2 million from the company over the course of five years.

Bonnie Mullion

Mullion, 65, was taken into custody and booked on suspicion of 89 counts of embezzlement. She allegedly began stealing from her employer in 2012, depositing a total of about $1.8 million into her own accounts, authorities said.

Mullion was fired from her job in 2017.

As of Oct. 3, she was being held at the Orange County Jail in lieu of $1.8 million bail.

Rensselaer accountant sentenced in child porn case [Monticello Herald Journal]
William Moit, a former CPA in Rensselaer, IN, was sentenced to serve 108 months in prison, followed by 10 years of supervised release, on Oct. 2 after pleading guilty to child pornography charges. He must also pay $5,000 in restitution.

Moit, 72, was convicted in Jasper County in 2000 for possessing child pornography and “contributing to the delinquency of a minor.” He was also charged with receiving child pornography with a federal indictment in 2017 and for using a computer to receive 111 images and 157 videos of child pornography between November 2014 and October 2015.

Former accountant embezzled $3.5 million from QlikTech Singapore [TechTarget]
Ariel Biasong Salamanes, a former accountant for QlikTech Singapore, a subsidiary of analytics and business intelligence vendor Qlik, was sentenced to nine and a half years in jail on Sept. 25 for embezzling nearly $4 million from the company.

He pleaded guilty to 15 counts, including falsification of accounts. An additional 267 counts were considered.

Authorities said Salamanes signed off on 451 company checks from April 2013 through June 2017 and deposited them into his own bank account before funneling most of the money back to the Philippines.

Ruth Seguin

Ruth Seguin sentenced to 4 years for stealing $3.4m from her former employer [CHCH-TV]
Ruth Seguin, 57, an accountant from Hamilton, Ontario, pleaded guilty in August to defrauding her employer.

Seguin was the CFO at Dan Lawrie Insurance and took small amounts of money at a time over five years. She says she stole the money to fund a serious opioid addiction that was costing her about $3,000 a day.

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