Results tagged “Tax Fraud” from The Court Reporter

Santa Barbara CPA Going to Prison for Tax Fraud By Setting Up Bogus Charity Work

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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.





Former Congressman and LA Native Going to Prison for Tax Fraud

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LOS ANGELES--A former U.S. congressman has been sentenced to one year and one day in federal prison in a tax fraud case related to his failure to disclose to the IRS nearly $500,000 of investor funds he received from a $10 million investment fraud scheme, the U.S. Attorney's Office announced today.

Wester Shadric Cooley, 80, a native of Los Angeles who now resides in Bend, Oregon, was sentenced Monday afternoon in federal court.

Cooley will begin serving the prison term on March 11, federal officials stated.

Cooley, who represented Oregon's 2nd congressional district during a two-year term that began in January 1995,  pleading guilty in November 2011 to subscribing to a false tax return. He admitted receiving about $1.1 million during the scheme and that he failed to report approximately $494,000 on his 2002 tax return.

The tax fraud case relates to a mail fraud and wire fraud scheme that defrauded more than 400 victim-investors out of over $10 million.

In the FBI and IRS investment fraud scheme, former IRS Revenue Agent George Tannous and convicted felon De Elroy Beeler Jr. solicited hundreds of victims across the country to purchase unregistered stock in the Tujunga-based, Inc. and related companies and Rose Laboratories.

Cooley was the vice president of Bidbay and an executive of and Rose Laboratories.

Federal official stated that victims were enticed to put money into the companies by several false statements, including that the companies would conduct initial public offerings.

Investors were also told that and/or the shell companies would soon be acquired by Ebay, Inc. for $20 per share, federal prosecutors stated.

 Ebay never had any intention of acquiring and had even sued for trademark infringement over the use of "bay" in its name, according to federal officials.

Tannous pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy and one count of subscribing to a false tax return in 2008. Tannous was sentenced in March to 33 months in prison.

Beeler pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy and one count of mail fraud in late 2008. Beeler is scheduled for sentencing on Feb. 4, 2013.

The Court Reporter
Raul Hernandez has spent years writing stories about the drama that unfolds in the courtroom. Here he answers common questions, share some insights on the judicial system and passes along some of the little things that make the Ventura County courts an interesting place to be. You can contact him at