Sacramento – On April 21, 2017, an Ohio man was sentenced for committing tax fraud that was discovered during a two-year investigation by California’s Tax Recovery and Criminal Enforcement (TRaCE) Task Force, the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General and the Department of Insurance.
“The TRaCe task force was set up in 2014 to investigate the underground economy and tax evasion,” said California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA) President Alan Barcelona. “This task force is made up of peace officers from numerous departments, which means they are combining their resources and their expertise.”
For five years, Makram Hanna, 74, of Steubenville, Ohio made false statements to avoid paying California income and employment taxes. He was sentenced in Sacramento County Superior Court to 18 months of home detention and four years formal probation, and ordered to pay $53,645.91 in restitution and investigation-related costs.
On February 14, 2017, Hanna pleaded no contest to making a false statement to avoid or lower the amount of payroll taxes and income tax evasion. The investigation revealed that from 2009 to 2014, Hanna operated Transamerica Services and Technical Supply Inc., headquartered in Steubenville, which contracted with the USPS to transport mail between post offices in California and Nevada. Through investigation, it was discovered that Hanna failed to report all employee wages as required by law.
Of the restitution ordered, the Employment Development Department will receive $36,890.19, and the Franchise Tax Board will get $6,755.72 for his failure to report income tax. The remaining $10,000 is for other related costs associated with the investigation.
The TRaCE task force is made up of investigators from the Board of Equalization, Franchise Tax Board, Employment Development Department, Department of Motor Vehicles, as well as special agents from the California Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Internal Revenue Service and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations.