William Murray California CPA Charged with $13 Million Fraud – Former CPA and Business Ethics Speaker Chuck Gallagher comments…

February 11, 2010

Every choice has a consequence.  I know…as a former CPA charged and convicted of fraud…I understand so well the effect of the choice we make.

Assistant United States Attorney Matthew D. Segal alleges that William Murray used false pretenses and representations to steal $13,357,133 from clients of his tax return preparation business, Murray & Young.  Mr. Murray is well known in the Sacramento area. He had frequently provided tax tips on a local television channel and served on the board of a charitable foundation.

Murray told more than 50 clients that he would pay taxes or make investments on their behalf and that therefore they should write checks to accounts that he controlled.

The information further alleges that Murray actually used the money to finance an extravagant lifestyle: he remodeled his house, funded a limousine business, and purchased things such as luxury automobiles, hand-woven rugs, art, sports memorabilia, wines, and jewelry.

The information also states that Murray used $3,507,502 in client funds to pay other clients’ tax obligations or to purport to return other clients’ investments.

The maximum statutory penalty for a violation of the mail fraud statute is 20 years in prison and a fine equal to the greatest of $250,000, twice the gain, or twice the loss caused by the offense. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory sentencing factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.

The charges are only allegations and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.


Speaking from person experience, if Mr. Murray is guilty…he would be best advised to surrender his license, plead guilty and make every effort to make restitution.  Facing time in prison is less than pleasant, but survivable.  Perhaps, he, like I, can find the experience in prison one of learning and make a different set of choices following his release.

I recall the best advice I was ever given.  A man once said to me soon after my crime came to light: “Son, you’ve made a terrible mistake, but YOU ARE NOT A MISTAKE.  The Choices you make today will define your life in the future and the legacy you leave for your two sons…  MAKE THOSE CHOICES WISELY!”

Comments are welcome.