On May 9, a Florida man pleaded guilty to multiple counts of tax evasion and wire fraud in a federal court in Pensacola. The defendant is the former mayor of Milton, but the charges stemmed from his job as the executive director of the Santa Rosa branch of the United Way. The branch was shut down as a result of his actions.
According to federal prosecutors, the 65-year-old defendant embezzled over $650,000 from the Santa Rosa United Way between 2011 and 2018. He did this by taking money earmarked to pay the branch’s ongoing operating expenses and using unrecorded donation checks to cover the difference. He then attempted to hide his activities behind a complex scheme of financial transactions. He also tried to block internal and external audits at the branch because they would have discovered his scheme. In addition, he also failed to report the embezzled income, which totaled between $86,000 and $99,000 each year of the scheme, to the Internal Revenue Service.
The defendant pleaded guilty to 20 counts of wire fraud and three counts of tax evasion. He could be sentenced to 20 years in federal prison for every count. He will also be forced to pay restitution and forfeit all profits from his actions. The government has already seized around $221,000 from his accounts. He is scheduled to be sentenced on July 29.
Embezzlement cases can be extremely complex and involve large amounts of financial records. Orlando, Florida, white-collar crime defense lawyers could review the records for details that help the defendant and attempt to poke holes in the prosecution’s case. These actions could help the defendant win an acquittal at trial or obtain a plea deal that reduces the penalties.
Source: NWF Daily News, “Ex-United Way director pleads guilty to 20 counts of wire fraud, 3 counts of tax evasion“, Kevin Boyer, May 9, 2019