Most country songs tell stories about human nature and the tragic circumstances that are often part of life. Even though this category of music most often covers broken hearts and regret, a fair amount of crooning covers lying, cheating and stealing as well. The San Antonio News-Express reports on a man, who lied and cheated his way to a grand total of $133 million in stolen funds from his clients. (I’m guessing they were heartsick and regretful of their choice in vendor.)
The story states that the largest tax fraud scam ever reported in the Western District of Texas involved a 60-year old man and his alleged partner. According to the article prosecutors say the two made a mint off of avoiding tax liability. The pair allegedly created multiple professional employer organizations (PEOs) and diverted tax and insurance payments from small businesses, which had hired the firms to handle employee management functions such as benefits, payroll and workers’ compensation. Unbeknownst to the businesses that had outsourced these tasks, the fraudster and his alleged accomplice used the money for personal gain. (Now, that’s a shocker!) Court records show that the ringleader spent the funds on vacations, girlfriends, Las Vegas gambling trips, three extravagant homes and a 551-acre horse-training ranch. (That’s quite a load of loot!)
According to the article, his alleged partner in crime happened to be the former defense attorney for the San Antonio man, who ended up serving a five-year prison term for a $1.2 million bank fraud scheme. Court records show that the repeat offender used money from several of the PEOs he managed to help pay restitution in the 1990s bank fraud case. (Talk about robbing Peter to pay Paul.)
The former prisoner pleaded guilty in the new case to tax fraud and mail fraud related to payroll services and workers’ compensation insurance. As part of a plea deal, he has agreed to serve no more than 20 years in federal prison. His alleged partner in the tax fraud scheme was disbarred last year after a five-year investigation, which also convicted four former executives of the PEO companies.
The former lawyer is facing trial on charges related to tax fraud, mail fraud and money laundering. He is, of course, innocent until proven guilty and deserves his day in court.
Thanks to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service, these fraudsters will be singing a sad, sad song while paying for their crimes. No matter what genre of music these fraudsters like, let’s hope they’ll all be singing a different tune at the completion of their prison term.
Today’s “Fraud of the Day” is based on the article titled, “Ringleader Guilty in S.A.’s Largest Ever Fraud Case,” written by Guillermo Contreras and published in the San Antonio Express-News on November 21, 2013.
SAN ANTONIO – A San Antonio man pleaded guilty Thursday to what officials have described as the largest fraud case ever filed here – a tax and insurance swindle with losses of more than $133 million.
Charles Pircher, 60, pleaded guilty to tax fraud conspiracy and mail fraud conspiracy related to payroll services and workers compensation insurance.