WASHINGTON – Larry Couchot, 59, a certified public accountant (CPA) from Dayton, Ohio, who is the president and part owner of an accounting firm in Centerville, Ohio, and prepared the tax returns of businessmen associated with Cadillac Ranch restaurants, pleaded guilty today to tax charges, the Justice Department and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced.
According to documents filed with the court, Couchot admitted that for tax years 2006 through 2010, he assisted in the preparation of false individual income tax returns for a group of individuals associated with the Cadillac Ranch restaurants, which caused a tax loss of over $191,000 to the IRS. On May 15, 2014, Jon Field from Dublin, Ohio, along with Eric Schilder, of Marion, Ohio, and Paul Butler, also from Dublin, pleaded guilty to tax charges related to Cadillac Ranch.
According to documents filed with the court, during the period 2006 through 2010, Couchot was aware that these individuals used a substantial amount of company funds to pay for personal expenses, including payments for their personal cars, car insurance, country club dues, personal credit card charges and their individual income tax liabilities. Couchot also admitted that he was aware that one individual used company funds to pay for other personal expenses, including lawn services, repairs and maintenance to personal residences, granite counter tops and TV and audio systems.
Couchot admitted that he prepared false federal income tax returns that failed to report these items as income on two individuals' income tax returns. Couchot pleaded guilty to aiding and assisting in the preparation of a false income tax return for the year 2009 for Jon Field and to preparing a false income tax return for Eric Schilder for the year 2007, which reported only $68,000 of income. In contrast, the business records of the company indicated Schilder earned over $129,000 in income in that year. Couchot admitted that after the false return was filed with the IRS on behalf of Schilder, he created a false summary that he retained in his records to support the false income reported on that return.
At sentencing, Couchot faces a statutory maximum sentence of three years in prison, a $250,000 fine and one year of supervised release for each of the two charges.
The case was investigated by IRS-Criminal Investigation, and is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Richard M. Rolwing and Senior Litigation Counsel John E. Sullivan of the Justice Department's Tax Division. Additional information about the Tax Division and its enforcement efforts can be found at the division website. Additional information about tax fraud schemes can be found on the IRS-Criminal Investigation website.