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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Michigan

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Home Health Care Provider Pleads Guilty To FailingTo Pay Employment Taxes

A Detroit resident pleaded guilty to willfully failing to pay employment taxes to the Internal Revenue Service, United States Attorney Barbara L. McQuade announced today.  Ms. McQuade was joined in the announcement by Detroit Field Office Acting Special Agent in Charge Carolyn Weber, Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation.

Joann Braggs entered the guilty plea in United States District Court before Judge David M. Lawson.

According to court records, during April 2003 through January 2006, Braggs was the president and owner of Bethharold Home Health Care, Incorporated (BHHC) and Bethharold Private Duty Care (BPDC).   During this time period, BHHS and BPDC withheld employment taxes from the employees’ paychecks, including federal income taxes, Medicare and Social Security taxes.  It was Braggs’ responsibility to pay the payroll taxes for both companies.  Braggs collected approximately $1,228,832 in employment taxes that she failed to send to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).  Instead, Braggs used this money for personal expenses.

 "Business owners have a responsibility to withhold income taxes for their employees and then remit those taxes to the Internal Revenue Service," said Acting Special Agent in Charge Carolyn Weber. "Instead, Braggs decided to spend the funds on herself and now faces serious consequences for her actions."
   
A sentencing hearing will be set by Judge Lawson where Braggs faces a statutory maximum penalty of not more than five years and a $250,000 fine per each count.  

The investigation of this case was conducted by special agents of the Internal Revenue Service, and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Graveline.

Updated March 19, 2015