Pittsburgh Tax Attorney and Owner of Iceoplex Sentenced to Prison for Employment Tax Fraud
A Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania man was sentenced to 48 months in prison today in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania after being convicted of failing to collect, account for and pay over employment taxes following a jury trial in September 2016, announced Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Caroline D. Ciraolo, head of the Justice Department’s Tax Division.
According to court documents and the evidence presented at trial, between 2004 and 2015, Steven Lynch, 61, a tax attorney, co-owned and operated the Iceoplex at Southpointe, a recreational sports facility located in Washington County, Pennsylvania. Iceoplex included a fitness center, ice rink, soccer court, restaurant and bar. Lynch controlled the finances for these businesses and was responsible for collecting, accounting for, and paying over tax withheld from employee wages, and timely filing quarterly employment tax returns. The jury found that between 2012 through 2015, Lynch failed to timely pay over to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) more than $790,000 in taxes withheld from the wages of the employees for these businesses.
“Companies deserve to compete on a level playing field,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Ciraolo. “Business owners and operators who choose not to pay over to the United States the taxes that they withheld from their employees’ wages are stealing from the U.S. Treasury and should plan on facing prosecution and incarceration.”
“As the person who controlled the finances on behalf of the different Iceoplex businesses, Steven Lynch, a tax attorney, was entrusted with the significant responsibility to collect and turn over all IRS withholding taxes,” said Special Agent in Charge Akeia Conner of IRS Criminal Investigation (CI). “His failure to pay over the withheld taxes is a violation that IRS Criminal Investigation takes very seriously. Today, justice is served and Mr. Lynch is being held accountable for his criminal actions.”
In addition to the prison term imposed by U.S. District Judge Arthur Schwab, Lynch was ordered to serve three years of supervised release and to pay $793,145 in restitution to the IRS and a $75,000 fine.
Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Ciraolo commended the special agents of IRS-CI, who conducted the investigation, and Trial Attorneys Jeffrey Bender and Brittney Campbell of the Tax Division, who prosecuted the case. Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Ciraolo also thanked the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Western District of Pennsylvania for their substantial assistance.
Additional information about the Tax Division and its enforcement efforts may be found on the division’s website.