LOS ANGELES - A Santa Barbara-based certified public accountant has been sentenced Monday to three years in federal prison for failing to report more than $1 million on federal tax returns by pretending that money earned through his accounting business came from a charitable foundation he called the Foundation for Harmony and Happiness, according to U.S. Attorney's Office.
Steven Mark Pybrum, 61, who resided in Montecito and claimed on his website that he appeared as a tax and financial expert on national television shows, was sentenced late yesterday afternoon following his conviction last year on four counts of subscribing to false income tax returns.
Pybrum fraudulently used money from his non-profit organization to pay personal expenses, including renting a Montecito mansion and buying a plane, a fishing boat and an SUV, state federal authorities.
Pybrum, who operated his accounting practice under the names of Pybrum & Company and Family Business Center, was convicted by a jury last October.
The evidence presented at trial showed that between 1999 and 2002, Pybrum brought in as much as $380,000 per year from accounting work. But instead of reporting that income on his own tax return, he claimed that money had been earned from doing charity work at his marital counseling. Prosecutors stated at trial that there was no evidence that any charitable work or earned any money for charitable activities during these four years, and that it was all set up to avoid paying taxes.