Not Paying Withholding taxes to the IRS is Tax Evasion – Kim Jenkins Brandveen plead guilty – faces Prison sentence

August 10, 2011

RICHMOND, Va. – Kim Jenkins Brandveen, 50, of Petersburg, Va., pleaded guilty today to tax evasion as part of a multi-year scheme involving various durable medical supply companies she owned.

Neil H. MacBride, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Jeannine Hammett, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation’s Washington, D.C., Field Office, made the announcement after the plea was accepted by United States District Judge Henry E. Hudson.

Brandveen was indicted on June 7, 2011 and today pled guilty to one count of tax evasion.  Brandveen faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison when she is sentenced on November 18, 2011.

In a statement of facts filed with her plea agreement, Brandveen admitted being the owner of Healthcare Solutions Medical Supply, LLC, which sold durable medical equipment and provided home health services.  Brandveen directed the withholding of federal employment taxes from the paychecks of that business’s employees, but regularly and systematically failed to pay those taxes over to the IRS, instead using those funds for other business ventures and personal expenses.

When the IRS undertook collection efforts, Brandveen ceased operation of that business and abandoned its bank accounts.  She then created a new business, Healthcare Solutions Service Corporation, a virtually identical business performing largely the same functions from the same location with the same employees.  That business also failed to pay over employees’ withheld employment taxes to the IRS, again using them for Brandveen’s other business ventures and personal expenses.  When the IRS undertook to hold Brandveen personally responsible for the failure to pay the employment taxes, she misled the IRS by falsely asserting that a relative was actually the party responsible for paying those taxes.

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Don’t mess with the IRS – Tuscon restaurant owner Mary Martino guilty of tax issues…

August 2, 2011

Operating a restaurant…and diverting monies to personal use…and not filing returns – that’s a recipe for disaster.

Mary Brooke Martino, 61, of Tucson, pleaded guilty on Thursday in federal district court to willfully subscribing and filing a false 2004 Individual Income Tax Return. Martino was charged with willful subscription and filing of a false tax return prior to her plea.

Mary Brooke Martino is married to Anthony Martino, 63, also of Tucson. They are the owners and operators of Anthony’s in the Catalinas, a restaurant which is a C corporation and incorporated under the name A.M. Restaurant Corporation. Mary Martino was primarily responsible for office operations of the restaurant. Anthony Martino was primarily responsible for restaurant and catering operations. From 2002 through 2006, the Martinos diverted at least $100,000 from the financial accounts maintained by the restaurant for their personal use during each year. On the books and records of the corporation, the diverted monies were classified as either business expenses or loans to shareholders. The couple had federal corporate income tax returns, Forms 1120, prepared for 2002 through 2005, but did not file the 2003 return. The other returns were filed late. The defendant and her spouse did not timely file federal individual income tax returns for 2002 through 2006 until after being contacted by Special Agents of the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation, on February 22, 2008.  On March 3, 2008, the defendant and her spouse then filed hand-written Forms 1040EZ which only reported gambling winnings, and no other income for either the defendant or her spouse for any of the five tax years, whether from the operation of Anthony’s in the Catalina’s or other sources. The government contends that the tax loss is more than $200,000 but not more than $400,000. The defendant contended that the applicable tax loss is more than $80,000 but not more than $200,000.

A conviction for willful subscription and filing of a false tax return carries a maximum penalty of three years in prison, a $250,000 fine or both. Sentencing is set before Judge David C. Bury on October 19. 2011.


You can’t hide from the IRS! Eliseo Roquiz, an anesthesiologist, pleads guilty to filing a false document with IRS… Perhaps he’ll meet Wesley Snipes in prison…?

July 31, 2011

Don’t mess with the IRS…it really isn’t worth it.  Wesley Snipes tried and look where it got him – 3 years in federal prison.  How’s that for putting a career on hold.

Eliseo Roquiz of Erie, Penn., pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Sean J. McLaughlin of the Western District of Pennsylvania to charges of filing a false document with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the Justice Department and IRS announced.

According to court documents and statements made in court, Dr. Roquiz, an anesthesiologist, used multiple tax fraud promoters to prevent the IRS from assessing and collecting his income taxes. In 1998, Dr. Roquiz established two sham trusts with the assistance of a California-based organization called National Trust Service and paid an affiliate of National Trust Service to prepare false individual and trust tax returns for him for the years 1998, 1999 and 2000. As part of the fraud, Dr. Roquiz had medical providers pay fees for his services to the sham trusts and then claimed false deductions on the trust returns to reduce the taxes on the income to zero.  Dr. Roquiz also opened bank accounts in the name of the sham trusts and transferred title to his personal residence to one of the trusts.

According to court documents and statements made in court, in 2003, after the IRS began to audit his tax returns, Dr. Roquiz hired American Rights Litigators/Guiding Light of God Ministries (ARL/GLGM), an organization located in Florida that sold abusive tax schemes, to send obstructive and frivolous correspondence to the IRS in response to notices that the IRS sent to Dr. Roquiz. After ARL/GLGM was permanently enjoined in February 2004, Dr. Roquiz hired a third fraud promoter, Joseph Saladino, to file frivolous amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Returns (IRS Forms 1040X) for the years 2000 and 2001

According to public documents and statements, Dr. Roquiz’s efforts to disrupt IRS collection activities culminated with the submission of three false Collection Information Statements for Wage Earners and Self-Employed Individuals (IRS Forms 433-A) between January and June 2005.  All three Forms 433-A, which Dr. Roquiz signed under penalties of perjury, were materially false in that Dr. Roquiz failed to disclose that he had transferred his personal residence to his sham trust and that he was a party to a lawsuit.  The second and third Forms 433-A, which Dr. Roquiz submitted in May and June of 2005, were also materially false in that Dr. Roquiz failed to disclose the existence of a bank account that he opened in the name on an LLC he had established in New Mexico.

As part of the plea agreement, the parties agreed that the tax loss associated with Dr. Roquiz’s conduct was $342,361.11 plus interest.

The charge against Dr. Roquiz carries a maximum sentence of up to three years in prison.  Sentencing is set for Nov. 15, 2011.

Perhaps Dr. Roquiz will meet Wesley…

YOUR COMMENTS ARE WELCOME!


Former Alabama Mayor – John Jackson – sentenced to prison for filing false Tax Returns!

July 24, 2011

John Jackson, the former mayor of White Hall, Ala., was sentenced to two years in prison, the Department of Justice and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced.  According to court documents, Jackson filed false joint 2004, 2005 and 2006 U.S. Individual Income Tax Returns (IRS Forms 1040) that did not report all of the total income earned by Jackson and his spouse.  Jackson did not report as income money he took from the city of White Hall and money he diverted from non-profit companies who handled the gaming license for White Hall.

Jackson was also sentenced to one year of supervised release, and ordered to pay a $25,000 fine and restitution in the amount of $11,065.


Self-taught Tax Return Preparer – Tomeka Winberly – Convicted of Preparation of Fraudulent Tax Returns

July 13, 2011

A federal jury in Miami returned guilty verdicts against Tomeka Wimberly on twenty-four counts of aiding and assisting in the preparation of fraudulent income tax returns.

The evidence at trial revealed that Wimberly was a “self-taught” tax preparer who prepared thousands of false tax returns between 2004 and 2005 which resulted in her clients receiving thousands of dollars in bogus refunds. The false returns reported fictitious and/or inflated deductions for un-reimbursed employee business expenses, charitable contributions, mortgage interest, and investment deductions, as well as false education, child care, and child and dependent expenses. During her first year in business, Wimberly prepared over 700 tax returns and obtained more than $2 million in refunds. By 2006, Wimberly prepared more than 1000 tax returns and obtained more than $4 million in refunds.

Wimberly faces a maximum sentence of up to 72 years’ imprisonment and a maximum fine of up to $2.4 million dollars. Sentencing is scheduled for September 20, 2011, before United States District Court Judge Paul C. Huck.

YOUR COMMENTS ARE WELCOME!


Sen. Chuck Grassley’s Media-Based Ministries “witch hunt” is over! To many prayers are answered…

January 10, 2011

November 2007 was when it began – the “witch hunt” that is – started by Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, when he sent a massive informational request to six major media-based ministries.

Substantial financial inquiries were sent to:  Joyce Meyer Ministries, Benny Hinn of World Healing Center Church, Randy and Paula White of Without Walls International Church, Eddie Long of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, Kenneth and Gloria Copeland of Kenneth Copeland Ministries, and Creflo and Taffi Dollar of World Changers Church International/Creflo Dollar Ministries.

When the Grassley issued his extensive financial requests cries erupted from many in the various segments of the faith based community.  Claims that Sen. Grassley was over reaching rang far and wide and many suggested that the separation of church and state was at play here.  I, as a business ethics speaker, on the other hand felt that full disclosure was appropriate.  If you had nothing to hide, then why resist?  Obviously, some listed above agreed.

The issue Grassley was investigating was weather the tax exempt status of the ministries should be revoked based on the lavish lifestyles ministry leaders lead.

According to a CNN article written by Eric Marrapodi:

The review by the committee did not impose new rules on the religious organizations or suggest they be stripped of their tax-exempt status. But it did bring to light compensation practices that may raise eyebrows in the non-profit community and lead to a discussion of new tax policies for religious organizations.

“The staff review sets the stage for a comprehensive discussion among churches and religious organizations,” Grassley said in a prepared statement. “I look forward to helping facilitate this dialogue and fostering an environment for self-reform within the community.”

SO WHO COMPLIED?

Two of the six ministries contacted were willing to fully comply:  Joyce Meyer Ministries and Benny Hinn of World Healing Center Church.  Both groups reported that they were working on reforming financial practices of their respective ministries.

Again the CNN states: “Committee staff members Theresa Pattara and Sean Barnett wrote in the staff review, “The reforms undertaken by Pastor Hinn and Joyce Meyer are extensive and are to be commended.” Joyce Meyer Ministries, based in St. Louis, went so far as to join the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability.”

Randy and Paula White of Without Walls International Church, Eddie Long of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, and Kenneth and Gloria Copeland of Kenneth Copeland Ministries submitted incomplete responses to the senator’s questions.

Atlanta-based Creflo and Taffi Dollar of World Changers Church International/Creflo Dollar Ministries did not participate at all, declining the senator’s requests, according to released correspondence between Grassley and Dollar’s attorneys.

GRASSLEY REPORT FINDINGS:

A 61 page report was presented and can be found here –  SFC Staff Memo to Grassley re Ministries 01-06-11 FINAL.

“While the majority of churches and religious organizations operate with policies and procedures that make them accountable to their members, it is the small minority that don’t that are subject to scrutiny by the members and the public, including the press. These outliers present tax policy issues for consideration,” the review said.

Grassley made the following comment as this phase of his worked seemed to come to an end, “The challenge is to encourage good governance and best practices and so preserve confidence in the tax-exempt sector without imposing regulations that inhibit religious freedom or are functionally ineffective.”

QUESTION:

Do you think that the actions taken by the six ministries was appropriate and sufficient?

YOUR COMMENTS ARE WELCOME!


Wesley Snipes first Day in Prison – A reflection from personal experience – SECOND CHANCES by Chuck Gallagher

December 10, 2010

Yesterday was Wesley Snipes first day in prison.  Today…the first full day I know how he feels.  I’ve been there.  It is no fun…

Here’s an excerpt from my new book SECOND CHANCES that might give a glimpse of what that first day’s experience is – or at least – was for me.  We all make mistakes, but as I was told – “You’ve made a big mistake, but YOU ARE NOT A MISTAKE!”  Those words were powerful and in many ways saved my life.

Wesley’s life is powerful and it is my hope that Wesley can move past the feeling that he’s somehow a victim, to the recognition that all thing happen for our good if only we will become still enough and reflect inward enough to find it.  Here’s to Wesley’s time – may it be beneficial to him and may he use it and his celebrity to bring light and love to others.

SECOND CHANCES EXCERPT:

By 3:25 p.m., I had been fully processed and was escorted to my cell, my new home. As I entered the cell, my cell mate, Buck, an African-American man of mid-stature, walked out. He gave me a quick once-over, never uttering a word. By this time, I had been instructed to change into my prison uniform and be prepared for “count time” at 4:00 p.m. I guess that meant something to most people, but it didn’t connect with me. Doing as I was told, I changed and sat on the bed assigned, waiting for further instructions.

At three minutes to 4:00 p.m., Buck reentered the cell. He just looked at me again─sizing me up, I suppose. Then a noise broke the chatter of inmates in this area.

“Count time. Count time.”

Again, Buck looked at me, pointing at the floor as if I knew what to do. I stood up just as the guard passed by our cell, counting each inmate as we stood in silence. I watched others, waiting for a cue as to what to do next. When the count was done, the chatter began, and once again, Buck left the room with no comments.

Seated on my excuse for a bed, I began to drift into a contemplative state. Now disconnected from all that I knew, all that was familiar, I was preparing to enter a part of life that would prove to be painful.  And yet, it was an opportunity for accelerated growth. We all have thoughts, beliefs, and associations; we interpret and make judgments. I did not, at that moment, think of prison as a place for growth; rather, it was a place of dread, a place to be endured. I would assume that most people feel that the consequences they face, especially if they judge them to be negative consequences, are unwanted and carry no benefit other than pain. Yet, through experience─my own as well as what is reported by others─often the worst experiences we face are our greatest teachers if we are open to allowing the lesson.

As the first night began to pass, I can’t say my first day in prison was fraught with any danger. I was just a number. I was another person placed somewhere where he didn’t want to be, dealing with the internal issues of doing time for something and learning in a new and unfamiliar environment. Staring at the ceiling of the cell and trying to get warm under the prison-issued sheet and blanket, I wondered if there was ever a time when the choices I made were worth the price.

My eyes welling with tears, but crying my first night was not an option.  Before the crack of dawn on day two, the guards banged on the door to the unit and began flashing on the lights. Buck was immediately out of bed as the workday began. I, on the other hand, was bewildered. I suppose I expected prison to be a place where you stayed in your bed until you wanted to get up, did nothing, and did nothing some more.

Buck looked up at me, as I was on the top bunk.  “You better get up and get out of here before 8:00 a.m. or the ‘hacks’ will put you to work.” With those words, Buck was off to his job.

It was 6:45 a.m.

Well, he talks, I thought to myself, not knowing what to do. Just then, the silence was broken. Another inmate, a middle-aged guy, poked his head around the corner.

“You eat?” he asked with a tentative look on his face, as if he might have disturbed me.

“Your first day here?”

“Yeah,” I replied, honestly glad to have someone who showed some interest. Not that I expected a welcoming party, but rarely had I ever been somewhere where you were looked right through, as if you were nobody. Perhaps it was learned behavior, but even in the “projects,” people seemed to have some basic level of respect and concern. Yet, except for the African-American guy from yesterday, no one seemed to care. Well, not until now.

“I’m Ham.”

“Chuck,” I replied. He offered no hand, and neither did I. I had already made up my mind that I would observe and take my lead from others who had been here awhile. I did not know the ropes, and being a leader in prison was not something I had ever aspired to.

“Follow me. Let’s get some breakfast.” With that, Ham moved out, expecting me to follow. “Now, don’t expect much. You know, the inmates do the cooking around here. The breakfast bunch, well, they ain’t the best. The dinner cooks, well, that’s another story. They’re pretty good. We’ll get some good chow at night.”

WHAT’S WESLEY’S FIRST DAY LIKE…

Well..in the case of “Blade” I suspect that it was a mixture of celebrity, concern and disconnection.  Prison (minimum security or not) is prison and it is different.  This morning Wesley Snipes had his first prison breakfast and many eyes are on him as he begins this new journey in his life.  Perhaps we can put aside our feelings of his guilt or innocence or feelings of appropriateness of his sentence and join to wish him well…

YOUR COMMENTS ARE WELCOME!