owner of local payroll services company indicted on fraud and money laundering charges
St. Louis, MO – BRADLEY FERGUSON, owner of Fenton-based Paymaster Business Solutions, Inc., was indicted late yesterday on mail fraud and money laundering charges involving his alleged failure to remit federal, state and local taxes to the proper taxing authorities that had been deducted from victim client bank accounts. Ferguson also failed to remit FICA withholding to the IRS on behalf of his business clients.
According to the indictment, from January 2005 through January 2014, Ferguson drafted funds directly from Paymaster business clients’ bank accounts in order to pay their federal, state and local tax liabilities. However, Paymaster, at Ferguson’s direction, failed to forward the Paymaster business clients’ funds to the taxing authorities in order to pay their tax liabilities then due and owing. Paymaster drafted in excess of $2,700,000 from Paymaster business clients’ bank accounts to pay client’s federal, state and local tax liabilities, as well as FICA liabilities, for the period July 2013 through December 2013, but were not forwarded to the proper taxing authorities. Additionally, the indictment alleges that Ferguson, as Power of Attorney for Paymaster business clients, was contacted directly by the IRS and questioned as to the failure of the payments of client federal tax liabilities. Ferguson did not tell his clients about the IRS inquiries. When clients occasionally learned that Paymaster had not forwarded their funds to the taxing authorities, Ferguson lied to them and told them Paymaster had made the payments. Finally, the indictment states that in December 2013, Ferguson retained the services of a commercial shredding company and directed that the Paymaster business client records be shredded and removed from the Paymaster offices.
Ferguson, Washington, MO, was indicted by a federal grand jury late Wednesday on one felony count of mail fraud and one felony count of money laundering.
Additionally, upon a finding of guilt, the defendant will be subject to a forfeiture allegation, which will require the forfeiture to the government of all money derived from the illegal activity.
If convicted, mail fraud carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and/or fines up to $250,000; money laundering carries a maximum of 5 years. In determining the actual sentences, a judge is required to consider the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, which provide recommended sentencing ranges.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Postal Inspection Service and Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Hal Goldsmith is handling the case for the U.S. Attorney's Office.
As is always the case, charges set forth in an indictment are merely accusations and do not constitute proof of guilt. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty.