Landmark Tax Group

California Accountant Sentenced For Fraud

On March 5, 2013, in Los Angeles, California, Steven Mark Pybrum, of Montecito, California, was sentenced to 36 months in prison for failing to report more than $1 million on federal tax returns. Pybrum was convicted in October 2012 on four counts of subscribing to false income tax returns. The evidence presented during the trial showed that Pybrum subscribed to false individual income tax returns for the tax years 1999 through 2002, and that he underreported his income on tax returns that were filed up to three years late. In 1999, Pybrum began depositing receipts from his accounting practice into a bank account held in the name of the Foundation for Harmony and Happiness (FFHH). Documents filed with the IRS stated that FFHH was established to provide financial assistance and conflict resolution to help couples avoid financial disputes. The evidence also showed that between 1999 and 2002, Pybrum brought in as much as $380,000 per year from accounting work. Instead of reporting that income on his own tax return, he claimed that money had been earned by FFHH for providing marital counseling. Prosecutors stated at trial that there was no evidence that FFHH actually did any charitable work or earned any money for charitable activities during these four years, and that FFHH was simply a name on bank accounts that Pybrum set up to avoid paying taxes. 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.


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