Business Owner Sentenced To Prison For Obstructing The Collection Of $3 Million In Employment Taxes
ATLANTA - Paulette Bryant has been sentenced to three years in prison for obstructing and impeding the IRS’s collection of almost $3 million in payroll taxes that her business withheld from employee paychecks over a ten year period.
“Honest, hardworking citizens should be assured that employers or business owners who withhold payroll taxes from paychecks and then fail to pay those funds to the IRS will be prosecuted,” said United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates.
“The manipulation of the payroll system to steal income and evade taxes is a serious offense,” stated Veronica F. Hyman-Pillot, Special Agent in Charge with IRS Criminal Investigation. “This sentence is a vital element in maintaining the public confidence in our legal and financial system.”
According to United States Attorney Yates, the charges and other information presented in court: Bryant owned and operated a temporary employment staffing business with several locations in North Georgia. Bryant’s business was responsible for withholding payroll taxes from employee paychecks and, along with quarterly filings, paying those taxes and her company’s share of employment taxes to the IRS.
Between 1998 and 2009, except for brief periods during or relating to an IRS audit, Bryant’s business failed to make the required quarterly filings and to pay the IRS the payroll taxes owed by her employees and business. In 2001, the IRS audited her business and assessed Bryant a personal penalty of $1 million in unpaid payroll taxes going back to 1998. Even after this audit and penalty, which went unpaid, Bryant and her businesses continued to fail to file with the IRS and to pay payroll taxes. By 2009, the unpaid payroll taxes and penalty totaled $2,914,931.12.
Bryant used the funds that should have been paid to the IRS to operate her company and fund her personal lifestyle. Although the operation of her business essentially remained the same during this period, Bryant formed and used new, overlapping corporate identities that had various names and that used various pseudonyms as corporate officers. The effect of this was to delay and hinder the IRS’s efforts to collect the employment taxes that her business owed. The business identities used by Bryant included Selective Employment Services, Inc. (formed in 2001), Corporate Staffing, Inc. (formed in 2002), Corporate Solutions Group, Inc. (formed in 2004), and Optimum Staffing Solutions Corporation (formed in 2009).
Bryant, 68, of Stockbridge, Ga., has been sentenced to three years in prison to be followed by 1 year of supervised release, and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $2,914,931.12. Bryant was convicted of obstructing and impeding the IRS’s collection of payroll taxes on October 9, 2013, after she pleaded guilty to an Information.
This case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation.
Assistant United States Attorney Douglas W. Gilfillan prosecuted the case.
For further information please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Public Affairs Office at USAGAN.PressEmails@usdoj.gov or (404) 581-6016. The Internet address for the home page for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia Atlanta Division is http://www.justice.gov/usao/gan/.