FTB Tax Problems

Former Vice President of Finance Pleads Guilty to Grand Theft, False State Income Tax Returns

A Chatsworth man pleaded guilty to one felony count of grand theft and one felony count of filing a false state income tax return.

James I. Ha, 35, was employed as the vice president of finance for a local marketing company. According to court documents, Ha abused his position of trust by embezzling more than $350,000 from 2001 – 2004. In addition, Ha also failed to claim this money on his state income tax returns for the same years. All income is taxable including income from illegal sources. Ha used the embezzled funds for personal expenses.

Sentencing is delayed until April 2010, to give Ha time to pay restitution to his former employer and pay FTB more than $45,000 representing the unpaid tax, penalties, interest, and the cost of the investigation. Ha faces up to three years in state prison and five years of formal probation.

Failing to report all income is part of the $6.5 billion tax gap California faces each year. The tax gap is defined as the difference between the tax that is owed and the tax that is paid. Since January, FTB has cooperated with local district attorneys around the state on six successful prosecutions.

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Marcelita V. Haynes presided over the case and Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Reid Rose prosecuted the case. This was a joint investigation between the Los Angeles County Police Department, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, and us.

Restitution Ordered in Identity Theft, Online Auction House Scam

A Brentwood man was ordered to pay more than $187,000 restitution to the State of California after previously pleading guilty to state income tax evasion.

Charles Merritt-Osborne is currently serving an eight-year prison term after pleading guilty in June 2008. Merritt-Osborne was the alleged ringleader of a scheme where stolen identities were used to create fraudulent companies, which then obtained credit to purchase goods for resale on eBay. The scam netted more than $2 million.

Two felony counts of state income tax evasion were among the charges to which Merritt-Osborne pleaded guilty. An exact amount of restitution was not determined at sentencing, so the hearing ordered full restitution in the amount of $187,191 which represents the unpaid tax, penalties, interest, and the cost of the investigation. All income is taxable including income from illegal sources. The failure to file tax returns is part of the $6.5 billion tax gap California faces each year. The tax gap is defined as the difference between the tax that is owed and the tax that is paid.

Santa Clara Superior Court Judge David A. Cena ordered the restitution in Department 31 of the Hall of Justice. Assistant Attorney General Ralph Savilla with the Office of the Attorney General prosecuted the case. The fraud was discovered by the state’s high tech crime task force.

Posted in:
Updated:

Comments are closed.

Client Reviews
★★★★★
Mike has given us peace of mind! He helped negotiate down a large balance and get us on a payment plan that we can afford with no worries! The stress of dealing with the IRS is huge and Mike helped us through it all. The peace of mind is invaluable, thank you Mike!April S.
★★★★★
Mike Habib - Thank you for being so professional and honest and taking care of my brothers IRS situation. We are so relieved it is over and the offer in compromise process went just as you said. Mike is very professional and will give you honest answers to the OIC process and you can really trust him. You won't be sorry you chose him!Joe and Deborah V.
★★★★★
Mike is a true professional. He really came thru for me and my business. Dealing with the IRS is very scary. I'm a small business person who works hard and Mike helped me see that they are not that scary after all. He was always there with the answers I needed and was very good about calling me back which I appreciated since your first reaction is to freak out and ask a million questions. He solved a messy case and worked very hard to resolve it. His rates are VERY reasonable for the amount of work he does! I give him my highest recommendation!Marcie R.
★★★★★
Mike was incredibly responsive to my IRS issues. Once I decided to go with him (after interviewing numerous other tax professionals), he got on the phone with the IRS immediately (as in the same day I signed with him) to squash an impending issue. And he worked directly with them to quickly come to a resolution I am very happy with. I'd highly recommend reaching out to Mike to see if he can help you with any IRS issues. I'm very satisfied!Marshall W.
★★★★★
I’ve seen and heard plenty of commercials on TV and radio for businesses offering tax help. I did my research on many of them only to discover numerous complaints and unresolved tax issues. I found Mike Habib through my own online search and contacted him. He was very professional with great communication, always answering my questions and concerns. Mike resolved my complicated tax problem just as he said he would. I would definitely recommend his services to family and friends.Nancy & Sal V.

BBB Accredited Business
Trust Link
California Society of Enrolled Agents
NAEA
NATP
Enrolled Agent