Ex-Company Controller Who Embezzled $2.8 Million from Employer and Cheated on His Taxes Sentenced to More Than 7 Years in Federal Prison
LOS ANGELES – A former controller for a Burbank-based commercial printing company was sentenced today to 87 months in federal prison for embezzling $2.8 million from his employer and failing to report the stolen funds as income to the IRS.
Sean Edin Talaee, 63, of Glendale, was sentenced by United States District Judge Otis D. Wright II, who also ordered him to pay $2,933,585 in restitution. Talaee
Talaee pleaded guilty in May 2019 to one count of mail fraud and one count of subscribing to a false income tax return.
From October 2015 to June 2018, Talaee worked as the controller overseeing the accounting and tax payments of Printograph, Inc., a commercial printing company that does business as GotPrint.com. During this time period, Printograph made a series of periodic estimated tax payments based on the company’s expected gross income, deductions, and credits for each year. Talaee enabled these estimated tax payments by bringing company checks to Printograph’s president and sole owner – who had signing authority for the company’s bank account – for her signature prior to their submission to the IRS.
On at least eight separate occasions, Talaee obtained company checks from Printograph’s president but instead inserted his own taxpayer information when filling out the IRS voucher forms that accompanied the estimated tax payments. By using his own information – and not the company’s – Talaee was able to claim the estimated tax payments for himself and caused the IRS to credit the payments to his own personal account, thereby embezzling the funds from Printograph and effectively laundering the embezzled proceeds through the IRS.
During the course of the scheme, Talaee embezzled $2.8 million from his employer and falsely claimed estimated tax payments in that amount for the years 2015, 2016 and 2017. These estimated tax payments allowed Talaee to receive a total of $2,778,994 in fraudulent tax refunds for these years, court papers state. Talaee failed to report the embezzled money as income for these tax years, causing a total tax loss of $740,085.
“(Talaee) embezzled a significant amount of money from Printograph and exposed the company – and its owner personally – to potential tax liability stemming from his theft of the company’s tax payments,” prosecutors wrote in their sentencing memorandum. “He did so repeatedly over the course of two years for his own personal gain.”
IRS Criminal Investigation and the FBI investigated this matter.
This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Alexander C.K. Wyman of the Major Frauds Section.