FORMER CEO OF PUBLICLY TRADED COMPANY PLEADS GUILTY AND IS SENTENCED FOR DEFRAUDING THE IRS
Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and Daniel W. Auer, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Criminal Investigation Division, announced today that Danny L. Pixler, formerly of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, entered a plea of guilty to a one-count Information charging him with failing to pay employment taxes to the IRS, in violation of Title 26, United States Code, Section 7202. Immediately following his guilty plea, District Court Judge John G. Heyburn II, in Louisville, Kentucky, sentenced Pixler to 60 months’ incarceration, to run concurrently with a prior sentence of imprisonment for mail and wire fraud.
According to court records and statements made in court, from 2004 through 2005, Pixler was the President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Certified Services Inc., a publicly traded company. Certified Services Inc. acted as a holding company for a number of other entities, including, but not limited to, the Cura Group, Inc., Certified Staffing Services Corp. I, American Staff Resources, Inc., and ABP Group Inc. (hereinafter, the “subsidiaries”). ABP Group’s principal place of business was in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. These companies operated as Professional Employment Organizations (PEOs), which performed employer-related services to other companies, such as payroll services and procuring worker’s compensation coverage for the employees of its clients. Defendant Pixler controlled days to day operations of the subsidiaries of Certified Services.
As part of its duties and functions, the subsidiaries collected from its clients the costs and fees associated with the payroll of employees. In this regard, the subsidiaries undertook the responsibility for collecting and paying to the IRS the quarterly payroll taxes. This included the funds withheld from employees’ checks as well as the employers’ contributions. The subsidiaries were required by law to file quarterly reports (IRS Form 941) and annual reports (IRS Form 940) with the IRS, calculating the tax obligation and simultaneously to pay over the taxes owed. Funds which were collected for the benefit of IRS were considered to be held in trust for the IRS.
As further stated in court documents, the subsidiaries routinely failed to pay over the taxes owed in a timely fashion. These companies collectively accumulated a debt to the IRS of approximately $31,104,000.
Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the IRS Criminal Investigation Division. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Roger Stefin.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.