By Michael P. Rellahan, Daily Local News, West Chester, Pa. (TNS)
The Chester County, PA, accountant convicted after a trial this past summer of tax evasion and failing to file tax returns in connection with this years-long tax fraud has been sentenced to more than three years in federal prison, according to a press release by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Philadelphia.
On Wednesday, U.S. Attorney Jacqueline C. Romero announced that Michael Goldner, 52, of Paoli, PA, was sentenced to 40 months in prison and three years of supervised release by U.S. District Court Judge Mark A. Kearney for his scheme to use his cash and his employer’s business bank accounts to hide his actual income and assets and therefore avoid paying his legitimate tax obligations.
“The American tax system funds government services critical to our people,” said Romero in the release. “Every time someone cheats the system, the burden of providing vital services increases on taxpayers who pay their fair share. As a professional accountant, this defendant knew what his obligations were and willfully schemed to evade them; and for this fraud he will now spend time behind bars.”
Evidence presented at trial showed that for the tax years 2013 through 2017, Goldner reported more than $4 million in income and $1.8 million in tax due, of which he paid less than $100,000. Further, from 2016 to 2020, the defendant evaded the payment of these outstanding taxes while earning a substantial income.
Instead of depositing his paychecks into a personal bank account, he cashed the checks and used his employer’s business accounts to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars of personal expenses, including rent, a second home, groceries, private school and dance lessons for his child, country club dues, and restitution from a prior fraud conviction for which he was on federal probation.
For the years 2016 and 2017, the defendant filed tax returns that failed to report this additional income from his employer. For tax years 2018 and 2019, the defendant failed to file a return altogether.
“Our agents have the expertise and investigative tools to uncover tax and financial fraud schemes, no matter how sophisticated the scheme may be,” said IRS Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge Yury Kruty. “Goldner’s scheme served no purpose other than to enrich himself, while cheating and stealing from the American public and the government.
“Anyone contemplating following Goldner’s footstep is urged to take a step back and consider the consequences,” Kruty said.
The case was investigated by IRS-CI and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney David Ignall and Trial Attorney Jack Morgan of the Tax Division of the Department of Justice.
In 2015, Goldner pleaded guilty to wire fraud and tax evasion after bilking would-be investors. He was on probation for that case at the time of his arrest on the current tax evasion case, having been sentenced in 2016 and ordered to pay $5 million in restitution.
Then, Goldner was an accountant who owned a real estate investment firm, Arcadia Capital Group Inc., which he started in 2003 with three other people. Arcadia ceased operations in the fourth quarter of 2009 and was out of business since the first quarter of 2009. Prior to 2007 and continuing into 2009, Goldner solicited individuals to invest in various real estate investments. Goldner promised a promissory note to at least one victim which, he said, would provide for regular payments and “occasional payments on the side.”
One victim invested $25,000 on July 25, 2008, via a wire from his self-directed IRA. That victim then received a promissory note. At the time of that investment, the Arcadia bank account was overdrawn. Immediately following that investment, Goldner repaid three earlier investors and made one payment to LG Financial, which held a mortgage on a property Goldner part-owned.
Records from the Arcadia bank account show that from 2007 until Goldner closed the account in 2009, nearly $10 million was withdrawn from the account with less than $1 million going toward possible real estate deals. The remaining funds went to Goldner, his associates, and prior investors.
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