Cisco Employee Did it His Way To the Tune of Millions

A former Cisco employee, Prithvirag Bhikha, is headed to prison for tax and wire fraud. In 2013 Bhikha was assigned to lead a new Cisco venture called “Project New York” which entailed hiring third party vendors to negotiate savings with manufacturers Cisco worked with.

 

In 2014, Bhikha asked a vendor hired under Project New York to provide kickbacks in exchange for Cisco business. The vendor agreed and paid out 1.15 million dollars in kickbacks to a company Bhikha had formed in Hong Kong, Lucena Limited.

 

In 2014 Bhikha transferred ownership of Lucena to his wife and signed up the company as a Project New York vendor. From 2014 to 2017 Cisco paid Lucena 10.06 million dollars for performing price negotiation services.  Bhikha went as far as having someone pose as Lucena’s CEO in a 2016 meeting held at Cisco headquarters in Northern California. Bhikha attended the meeting and the imposter presented false information about Lucena in order to keep the account.

 

Bhikha repatriated more than nine million dollars from foreign accounts held by Lucena and failed to report any of that income to his tax preparers.

 

He was sentenced to 36 months in prison and was ordered to pay 1.15 million dollars in restitution to Cisco and 2.5 million dollars to the IRS.

Employee Steals from Church and Has to Answer to Higher Power and The IRS

The former head of construction and land management at the Catholic Diocese of St. Augustine in Florida was sentenced to 33 months in prison for tax and wire fraud charges.

 

Charles Jon David was responsible for selling land owned by the church, and in 2013 sold a property to two individuals for well under market value. After the purchase was made David was paid $229,500 by the buyers, who later sold the property for a substantial profit.

 

On another occasion David arranged for the sale of another church property for $150,000, while already having another buyer lined up to buy the property from the first buyer for $250,000. Both transactions happened on the same day and David made $44,000 from this sale.

 

David failed to report any of this income on his tax returns. In addition to the 33 month prison sentence he was ordered to pay $273,000 to the Catholic Diocese and $111,000 in restitution to the IRS.

Thief & Tax Evader Takes From Needy Kids and Gives to Himself

Saurabh Chawla, a Colorado businessman, was found guilty of trafficking in stolen goods and tax evasion. From 2009 to 2019 Chawla purchased more than 3.5 million dollars in goods he knew were stolen, from various individuals, and resold the items on eBay.

 

Chawla purchased and resold 3,000 Apple iPods from a New Mexico public school employee who oversaw a program to provide the iPods to underprivileged Native American children. Over the course of seven years he paid the school employee, Kristy Stock, $800,000. Chawla also purchased 1.5 million dollars in stolen goods from a FedEx employee who figured out how to steal the items without getting caught. Chawla resold these goods for more than three million dollars.

 

The stolen goods were sent to a relative of Chawla’s, who was paid $60,000 a year to handle storage and shipping. Chawla also helped the relative evade taxes on the income.

 

Chawla was sentenced to 66 months in prison, ordered to pay $713,619 to the IRS and forced to forfeit his Tesla and $2,308,062.61 from accounts held in his name and the sale of property in Colorado.

IRS Crime Investigators Moving to the Digital Age with Billboards

IRS Criminal Investigations (IRS-CI), in partnership with New York State Crime Stoppers, has launched its first ever digital billboard campaign with the hope of catching tax evaders. The billboard, which is part of a 12-week public service campaign, is off the Kensington Expressway in Buffalo, New York. It includes a hotline that people can use to report possible financial crimes.

 

IRS-CI conducts investigations involving tax, bankruptcy, corporate and healthcare fraud, employment tax, financial institution fraud, gaming, identity theft, money laundering and public corruption. They have a 90% federal conviction rate

Check Cashing Business Owner Hides Millions from IRS and Faces 10 Years in Prison!

John Drago, the owner of six check cashing businesses in Long Island, pleaded guilty to payroll tax evasion and illegally structuring financial transactions.

 

Financial institutions are required to file a Currency Transaction Report (CTR) for each transaction of $10,000 or more, this includes when multiple checks totaling $10,000 or more are cashed in a single day. From 2010 to 2013 Drago instructed his employees to cash multiple checks in excess of $10,000 per day for certain customers without filing the CTR. He also instructed employees to tell customers who wanted to cash individual checks of $10,000 or more to return with multiple checks in smaller amounts.

 

As a result of Drago’s scheme, more than 9.5 million dollars in check cashing transactions were concealed from the IRS.

 

Between 2012 and 2013 Drago also paid overtime wages and commissions to his employees in cash, and did not report them to the IRS.

 

As part of his plea Drago agreed to forfeit his check cashing licenses and is barred from applying for new licenses. He faces up to 10 years in prison, agreed to forfeit $253,000 and to pay restitution to the IRS in the amount of $593,000.

Your IRS Questions Answered Here…

Question: I owe $74,367 for several years of back taxes but do not have the money to pay the IRS.  I want to get them off my back and heard of something called an Offer in Compromise.  What is it and how do I qualify?

 

Answer:  An Offer in Compromise is the IRS’ tax resolution debt settlement program.  It’s a program for taxpayers who owe the IRS more money than they can ever afford to pay. It’s the IRS’s version of a “fresh start” when it comes to tax debt.  If approved, the IRS accepts a lesser amount (sometimes a fraction of what’s owed!) to settle your debt.  However, it isn’t always easy to gain approval due to its strict criteria and eligibility requirements.

 

The IRS considers your income, assets, expenses, ability to pay, and whether paying the full amount, even over time, would cause financial hardship. It’s important to remember that the IRS wants its money and will only accept an Offer in Compromise if it thinks it wouldn’t receive any money otherwise.

 

Your odds for acceptance increase significantly when you have an experienced tax resolution specialist negotiating with the IRS on your behalf. If you do qualify, we get to work immediately by implementing a customized resolution plan that fits your unique circumstances.

New York City Council Member Loses Job for Cheating on Taxes!

Former New York City Council Member, Chaim Deutsch, was sentenced to three months in prison for filing a false tax return in connection with outside income he received while serving on the city council.

 

In addition to his job as a council member, Deutsch was the owner of Chasa Management, a real estate management company. From 2013 to 2015 he filed false individual and corporate tax returns that decreased his tax liability by claiming fictitious business and personal deductions. He deducted rental payments for an apartment he maintained in Brooklyn in order to obtain residency for his council position, utilities, and routine expenses such as food and clothing.

 

As a result of the false deductions, Deutsch received a refund of $1,937 in 2013, $262 in 2014 and $7,511 in 2015. During that time period he claimed $157,000 in false business expenses on Chasa Management’s returns and $111,000 in false expenses on his individual tax returns. These exaggerated expenses helped Deutsch evade $82,076 in taxes.

 

In addition to the three month prison term, Deutsch will serve one year of supervised release, pay a fine in the amount of $,5500, and pay restitution to the IRS in the amount of $107,007.05. He also lost his council seat as a result of violating his oath of office by defrauding the federal government.

Businessman Constructs False Tax Returns for Hefty Refunds

Shawn Smith, a Chicago business owner, was  sentenced to three years in prison for filing false tax returns.

 

Smith created several companies, including a construction business, that did very little work, but provided him with the opportunity to create false W2s that falsely listed him as earning millions of dollars in wages.

 

In total, Smith filed eight false tax returns seeking 3.1 million dollars in tax refunds by claiming Schedule E losses that greatly reduced his income.

 

The IRS paid Smith $815,000 in fraudulent returns. He used the money to fund a lavish lifestyle that included purchasing a trailer for his truck, several BMWs, expensive dinners, and shopping sprees at luxury retailers.

Couple Strikes Out with Gambling Ruse, Ends Up in Prison!

Cherie and Dudley Hellenbrand, owners of Middleton Sports Bowl, a bowling alley and sports bar in Wisconsin, pleaded guilty to underreporting the sales receipts from video gambling machines they had installed in their business in 2010.

 

The Hellenbrands scheme came to light when they admitted to a potential buyer of the business that they did not report all the sales from the machines. They said that the company that provided the machines gave them receipts with whatever amount they wanted to report to the IRS. The potential buyer was an IRS criminal investigation special agent working undercover.

 

The case ultimately included four others, employees and owners of Global Vending, the company that provided the machines to the business, along with false receipts, in exchange for 25% of the true profit.

 

The Hellenbrands used the money skimmed from the machines for cars, vacations, $40,000 on landscaping and to pay some employees in cash.

 

They were found guilty of a tax loss  of $268,852.04 for the years 2010 to 2017 and were each sentenced to six months in prison.

Corporate Secretary Puts Plumbing Company in Hot Water for Embezzling Almost a Million Dollars!

Sara Collins, the corporate secretary of a plumbing, heating, and air conditioning business in Delaware, pleaded guilty for failing to pay employment taxes on behalf of her employer. From 2013 to 2019 Collins paid less than $37,000 in payroll taxes when the business owed a total of more than $960,000.

 

Collins used the diverted funds to pay for personal expenses and covered her tracks by entering bogus purchases and payments in the company’s accounting program. She faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison for each of five counts.