Owners of Pennsylvania Based Internet Florist Convicted of Tax Crimes
Filed Fraudulent Corporate, Personal, and Employment Tax Returns
A Pennsylvania couple that owned and operated an internet floral business was convicted yesterday of failing to pay over employment taxes to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and of filing fraudulent personal and corporate tax returns, announced Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard E. Zuckerman of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and Acting United States Attorney Louis D. Lappen for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
According to the evidence introduced at trial, Andrew Bassaner (aka Andrew Bunchuk), 45, and his wife and business partner, Vicki Bunchuk, 44, owned and operated Florist Concierge Inc. (FCI). For tax years 2010 through 2012, Bunchuk, aided and assisted by Bassaner, filed fraudulent corporate and personal income tax returns with the IRS. They diverted funds from FCI, which they deducted as business expenses on FCI’s corporate returns and did not report as income on their personal returns. They spent the money on personal luxuries, including a monthly rent of $17,000 for a home in Windemere, Florida. In addition, from 2011 through 2014, Bassaner and Bunchuk filed fraudulent employment tax returns for FCI that falsely classified its employees as independent contractors. Based on this fraudulent classification, Bassaner and Bunchuk claimed not to owe employment taxes on the wages paid to those individuals.
Sentencing is scheduled for June 27 before U.S. District Court Judge Michael M. Baylson. The defendants face a statutory maximum sentence of five years in prison for each employment tax count and three years in prison for each count of filing a fraudulent return. They also face a period of supervised release, restitution and monetary penalties.
Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Zuckerman and Acting U.S. Attorney Lappen thanked special agents of IRS Criminal Investigation, who conducted the investigation and Assistant U.S. Attorney David Ignall and Trial Attorneys Christopher O’Donnell and Jack Morgan of the Tax Division, who prosecuted the case.
Additional information about the Tax Division and its enforcement efforts may be found on the division’s website.