St. Augustine Contractor Pleads Guilty To Failing To Pay IRS Payroll Taxes That He Withheld From Employees’ Pay
Tampa, FL – U.S. District Judge James S. Moody Jr. today sentenced Samuel Priester to four years in federal prison for tax fraud. As part of his sentence, the Court also ordered him to forfeit the proceeds from the offense and to pay restitution to the Internal Revenue Service in the amount of $152,418.
Priester pleaded guilty on June 13, 2017.
According to court documents, in March 2012, Priester was in possession of numerous unauthorized prepaid cards, in other peoples’ names, that had been loaded with tax refunds from unauthorized and fraudulently filed federal tax returns. Some of the cards were still attached to mailers from the card issuers. Preister also possessed a hand-written ledger containing personally identifying information (PII) with notations such as “used,” “good,” or “rejected,” along with instructions as to how much money could be withdrawn from ATMs daily, using various types of prepaid debit cards. One of the cards and PII found matched a card that had been used to purchase new merchandise found in Priester’s room.
In total, there were 34 false 2011 income tax returns filed with the IRS from the PII and prepaid cards in Priester’s possession, claiming a total of $230,045. Of these, $205,785 had been accurately noted in the hand written ledger. A total of $152,418 in fraudulent tax refunds were issued.
This case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation and the Bradenton Police Department. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Kelley Howard-Allen.