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Press Release

Owner of Oregon Payroll Services Company Pleads Guilty to Employment Tax Scheme

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs
Defendant Did Not Pay More than $24 million in Payroll Taxes

An Oregon man pleaded guilty today to willfully failing to pay more than $24 million in payroll taxes owed to the IRS.

According to court documents and statements made in court, Robert Kohnle of Lake Oswego, was the president, secretary, and chief executive officer of Real Benefits Group Inc., dba Aliat. As a professional employer organization, Aliat provided payroll and payroll-related services for its clients. Aliat was responsible, pursuant to service agreements with its clients, for receiving the payroll taxes withheld from the wages of clients’ employees, including federal income and Social Security and Medicare taxes, and paying those payroll taxes to the IRS.

Beginning in the fourth quarter of 2016 through the fourth quarter of 2022, Kohnle received payroll withholdings from Aliat’s clients but did not pay it over to the IRS as required by the client service agreements. Kohnle instead used the money to pay Aliat’s other expenses and creditors, including himself. In total, Kohnle caused a tax loss to the IRS of $24,816,602.

Kohnle is scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 8, 2024, and faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison. He also faces a period of supervised release, restitution, and monetary penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stuart M. Goldberg of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and U.S. Attorney Natalie K. Wight for the District of Oregon made the announcement.

IRS-Criminal Investigation is investigating the case.

Trial Attorneys Patrick Burns and Regina Jeon of the Justice Department's Tax Division are prosecuting the case.

Updated September 1, 2023

Press Release Number: 23-962