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October 2, 2023

Accountants Behaving Badly: Ripping Off Olympian, Ex-IRS Employee Jailed, Stealing From Your Own Firm

Plus, a Massachusetts accountant pleads guilty to tax fraud, and a Toronto accountant gets prison time for stealing from charity.

Oregon CPA who ripped off Olympic snowboarder and spent trust fund of porn shop heirs headed to prison [The Oregonian]
Nathan Wheeler was sentenced to four years and three months in federal prison on Oct. 24 for stealing about $4.5 million of his clients’ investments to support his “Playboy lifestyle’’ of booze, drugs, and money, and bolster his large marijuana business.

The Oregon CPA, who owned the Portland-based accounting firm Bridge City Advisors, ripped off more than $900,000 in earnings from Olympic snowboarder Daniel Kass, misappropriated the trust fund of two porn shop heirs, and bought his fiancee an engagement ring using the investments of a retired law enforcement officer, according to prosecutors.

Wheeler, 43, pleaded guilty to wire fraud and attempted tax evasion in May 2018. He must surrender to authorities on Jan. 24, 2020.

Former IRS employee sentenced to prison for tax evasion [Justice Department]
Craig Orrock, a former IRS employee and attorney, was sentenced on Oct. 22 to 32 months in prison in Las Vegas for tax evasion and obstructing the IRS.

Orrock, 72, filed tax returns for the years 1993 through 2015 but didn’t pay the income taxes due. He attempted to prevent the IRS from collecting the reported income taxes by using entities, bank accounts, and trusts in other names to hide his income and assets, filing frivolous bankruptcy petitions and filing an offer-in-compromise falsely representing to the IRS that he had virtually no assets.

For example, Orrock used an entity known as Arville Properties LLC to conceal from the IRS his ownership of real property that he sold in 2007 for $1.5 million. In all, Orrock evaded the payment of more than $500,000 in federal income taxes.

Orrock was also ordered to pay $923,666.73 in restitution and to serve three years of supervised release.

Albany accountant charged with stealing from former firm [Albany Democrat-Herald]
Richard Perdue, a prominent former accountant in Albany, OR, was charged with three counts of first-degree aggravated theft and one count of first-degree theft on Oct. 16 for allegedly stealing at least $31,000 from his former accounting firm, now known as Koontz, Blasquez & Associates but previously named Koontz, Perdue, Blasquez & Co.

His next hearing is scheduled for Nov. 18.

Tax preparer sentenced to 15 months in federal prison [Justice Department]
Gelin Sterling, who owned the tax preparation business Sterling Tax Plus LLC in Berlin, CT, was sentenced on Oct. 28 to 15 months in prison, followed by one year of supervised release, for preparing false tax returns.

For the 2014 through 2017 tax years, Sterling prepared tax returns for numerous clients that included false mileage expenses, false charitable donations, and other false income items, authorities said.

Sterling was ordered to pay the IRS restitution of $250,000. As a result of his actions, many of his clients’ filed tax returns will need to be amended. The amount of Sterling’s restitution may be reduced as his clients resolve their own tax liability with the IRS, authorities said.

He pleaded guilty to one count of aiding in the preparation of false tax returns on May 2. Sterling is required to report to prison on Dec. 30.

Worcester accountant pleads guilty to tax fraud, allegedly over $1M [Worcester Telegram & Gazette]
Sebastian Adzadi, who operated Skylimits Tax Service in Worcester, MA, offered a guilty plea on Oct. 23 in U.S. District Court to a single count of aiding and assisting the filing of a false income tax return.

He allegedly fabricated expenses and charitable donations in order to get clients as much as $1 million in fraudulent tax refunds, although his attorney argued that the amount of loss for which Adzadi is responsible is less than $1 million.

An undercover agent had asked Adzadi’s firm to prepare a tax return, and the filed return contained fictitious deductions that weren’t based on responses the agent had provided. If the return had been properly prepared, the agent would have owed the government $43. Instead, the return resulted in a tax refund of $1,045.

Adzadi is scheduled to be sentenced in January 2020.

New Hartford accountant sentenced to 12 months for failure to file tax returns [Justice Department]
James Becker, who operated Becker’s Accounting Services in Whitesboro, NY, was sentenced on Oct. 23 to 12 months in prison, to be followed by one year of supervised release, for failing to file his personal income tax returns for the years 2012 through 2015.

He also was ordered to pay restitution to the IRS of $162,049.

Becker, 53, pleaded guilty in June to four counts of failing to file his tax returns notwithstanding having gross income in excess of $100,000 in each of the tax years.

Toronto charity thief jailed, ordered to repay $1M [Ottawa Sun]
Marcia Motayne, an accountant who stole almost $1 million from New Vision Toronto, was sentenced on Oct. 23 to six and a half years in jail.

“For unexplained but obvious reasons of greed, you smoothly and carefully stole a million dollars,” said Justice Michael Quigley of the 51-year-old ex-accountant.

“You did that through a callous and calculated payroll robbery plan that you knew would be immune to detection, and you also knew it would deprive some of the most vulnerable and needy of our fellow citizens of the monies they needed for a subsistence day to day level of survival with the disability weights they carry.

“You ignored your obligations you had to the disabled persons who relied on you in committing this cold, duplicitous, greed-driven offence.”

She used some of the money she stole to fly with her two sons to Brazil to watch the World Cup.

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