August 21, 2019

Zaza Pachulia’s Ex-Accountant Is Going to Jail But Not Until After April 30 Because Busy Season

You know it’s tax season when an accountant who was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison for identity theft is just too busy to go to jail right now.

Such is the case for Randy Usow of Mequon, Wis., who agreed to plead guilty to one count of theft of government property and one count of identity theft last August for filing fraudulent tax returns in the name of one of his clients and using the client’s name to steal more than $800,000. That client happened to be former NBA player Zaza Pachulia and his wife.

According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, U.S. District Judge Pamela Pepper sentenced Usow to two and a half years in prison, plus three years of supervised release, on Feb. 21. And …

She granted [Usow’s attorney, Michael] Goller’s request that Usow be allowed to surrender after April 30 — so he would have time to finish tax returns for his remaining clients.

My first thought after reading this was, who in their right mind would allow this guy to continue preparing their tax returns knowing he just pled guilty to stealing a client’s identity and defrauding the IRS out of 800 G’s? But then I thought, Usow wouldn’t risk doing anything else stupid knowing he would get a longer prison sentence. Still tho.

Pachulia was on the Milwaukee Bucks in 2004 when he first met Usow, who owns Randy Usow Accounting Inc. According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Usow filed tax returns for Pachulia and his wife for about 10 years, starting in 2004. But from 2011 to 2015, Usow filed at least four bogus returns that generated excessive refunds, much of which Usow pocketed.

Federal authorities said that to conceal his scheme, Usow provided the Pachulias with a different version of the tax returns that reflected the correct refund they were entitled to.

Usow opened a bank account in Pachulia’s name without the two-time NBA champion’s knowledge or consent. The accountant then directed the IRS to send a fraudulent refund to this account. After receiving the refund, Usow transferred a portion of the refund to a second bank account he had opened in the name US Government, LLC, according to authorities. Usow then used this account to pay the Pachulias the smaller refund they were expecting.

Pachulia and his wife sued Usow in 2016 for breach of contract and fiduciary duty, negligence, and misrepresentation. The lawsuit stated the couple had incurred about $82,000 in penalties and interest from the IRS. The case was settled last fall; terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Image: Wikimedia Commons/Keith Allison

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