Just to be fair, we don’t usually see a lot of juicy stuff from Hawaii, but this month, we’ve finally got something! A federal grand jury in Honolulu returned an indictment charging Heidi Cafirma, of Waipahu, with filing false tax returns, wire fraud, money laundering and structuring related to her fraudulent application for unemployment assistance due to the COVID-19 pandemic. If convicted, Cafirma faces potentially decades in prison for the charges.
Sadly, CPAs get caught handling false returns and falsified deductions all too often, and when it does, the stakes are usually far higher, as we see in a recent Nevada case. According to court documents, Lance K. Bradford of Henderson, was a certified public accountant (CPA) who provided accounting services including tax preparation, audit and consulting services to high-net worth individuals. In 2011, Bradford began offering an “investment opportunity” through which the clients would make a payment to his partnership entity and, in exchange, receive a large tax deduction of approximately five to seven times the amount of money the client “invested.” In total, Bradford’s scheme caused a tax loss to the IRS of at least $8 million. Bradford is scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 16, 2024, and faces a maximum penalty of three years in prison, along with restitution and monetary penalties.
A Louisiana man was sentenced to 24 months in prison for willfully failing to report and pay over the IRS employment taxes his company withheld. Julian Russ was the CFO of a pipeline-maintenance and construction company based in Hazelhurst, Mississippi. As CFO, Russ was responsible for collecting, accounting for and paying over the company’s employment taxes. From at least 2012 to 2018, Russ did not file nor pay the IRS the taxes withheld from employees’ wages. In total, Russ caused a tax loss to the IRS of more than $6 million. Russ has been ordered to serve three years of supervised release and to pay $2,714,280.71 in restitution to the United States.