From the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Baltimore:
Beverly Carden, age 53, formerly of Bel Air, Maryland, pleaded guilty today to mail fraud and filing a false tax return, arising from a scheme to steal money from her clients and the IRS.
The guilty plea was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge Thomas Jankowski of the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation, Washington, D.C. Field Office; and Special Agent in Charge Kevin Perkins of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
“Beverly Carden falsely told clients that their money was being used to pay their taxes, when in fact she was stealing it,” said U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein. “Customers who hire payroll services companies expect that they will not have to worry, but this case is a reminder that people always need to be vigilant when they trust someone with their money.”
According to her plea agreement, until its closure in March 2013, Beverly Carden owned and operated AccuPay, Inc. which provided payroll and payroll tax services to small and medium businesses. Her husband, Kevin Carden, ran the company’s “tax department,” which was responsible for handling the employment tax portion of the business. AccuPay received funds from its clients that it held in trust to pay over to the IRS and the Comptroller of Maryland for AccuPay’s clients’ employment taxes.
During the course of the fraud scheme, AccuPay withdrew from the clients’ funds the full amount of payroll taxes owed, but then paid the taxing authorities only a portion of such funds. While AccuPay falsely represented to its clients that it paid all of the taxes owed, in fact, Beverly Carden diverted a large portion of those funds to a personal bank account for her personal use.
In 2012, a client of AccuPay confronted representatives of AccuPay with the fact that the company had failed to pay over $300,000 in taxes owed from 2008 to 2012. In response, AccuPay paid the client’s tax deficiencies.
AccuPay sent a letter to their clients stating that they had hired a CFO to audit all tax deposits and filings for all tax clients back to 2009. In fact, that individual was not AccuPay’s CFO, but rather was an independent tax preparer who Beverly Carden had hired primarily to prepare personal taxes and the corporate taxes of AccuPay, rather than those of the clients. Additionally, in order to contact the IRS about her clients’ employment tax issues without her clients’ knowledge, Beverly Carden copied client signatures on IRS power of attorney forms onto forms for more recent periods without the clients’ permission.
Carden admits that the amount of loss reasonably foreseeable to her arising from this scheme is between $380,000 and $600,000.
Carden also admits that she filed a false individual tax return for 2011 in which she did not report the amount of payroll taxes that she had diverted from AccuPay’s clients to her personal account. She also failed to file a tax return for 2012. Beverly Carden admits that the amount of loss reasonably foreseeable to her arising from this tax fraud scheme is between $40,000 and $100,000.
Beverly Carden faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison for mail fraud, and a maximum of three years in prison for filing a false tax return. U.S. District Judge Marvin J. Garbis scheduled sentencing for March 23, 2016, at 10:00 a.m.
A federal grand jury indicted co-defendant Kevin Carden, age 55, of Bel Air on charges arising the schemes. Kevin Carden has pleaded not guilty. An indictment is not a finding of guilt. An individual charged by indictment is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at some later criminal proceedings
Today’s announcement is part of efforts underway by President Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force (FFETF) which was created in November 2009 to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. With more than 20 federal agencies, 94 U.S. attorneys’ offices and state and local partners, it’s the broadest coalition of law enforcement, investigatory and regulatory agencies ever assembled to combat fraud. Since its formation, the task force has made great strides in facilitating increased investigation and prosecution of financial crimes; enhancing coordination and cooperation among federal, state and local authorities; addressing discrimination in the lending and financial markets and conducting outreach to the public, victims, financial institutions and other organizations. Since the inception of FFETF in November 2009, the Justice Department has filed more than 12,841 financial fraud cases against nearly 18,737 defendants including nearly 3,500 mortgage fraud defendants. For more information on the task force, visit www.stopfraud.gov.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended the IRS – Criminal Investigation and FBI for their work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein praised the Bel Air Police Department for their assistance in the investigation, and thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Evan T. Shea and Jefferson M. Gray, who are prosecuting the case.