Harrisburg Businessman Pleads Guilty To Federal Tax Fraud
HARRISBURG - The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced today that Paul Biko, age 65, pleaded guilty yesterday to federal tax fraud before Chief United States District Court Judge Christopher C. Conner in Harrisburg.
According to United States Attorney Peter Smith, in 2008, Biko was the owner of three Harrisburg businesses: Clearview of Harrisburg, Clearview Landscaping and Clearview Builders. As owner, Biko controlled the financial affairs of the three companies including all business bank accounts. For the fourth quarter of 2008, Biko’s companies withheld employment taxes from employees but failed to pay to the IRS the federal income taxes and Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) taxes due to the United States. The government’s estimate of the loss is approximately $674,969.
Biko is scheduled to be sentenced in April 2016.
Biko was charged in an indictment in April 2014. Charges are still pending against Maura Mia Whetsel, age 31, of Harrisburg, the firms’ former Director of Finance and bookkeeper.
The investigation was conducted by the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigations. Prosecution was handled by Assistant United States Attorney Joseph J. Terz.
Indictments and Criminal Informations are only allegations. All persons charged are presumed to be innocent unless and until found guilty in court.
A sentence following a finding of guilt is imposed by the Judge after consideration of the applicable federal sentencing statutes and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.
The maximum penalty under federal law is 5 years of imprisonment, a term of supervised release following imprisonment, and a $10,000 fine. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the Judge is also required to consider and weigh a number of factors, including the nature, circumstances and seriousness of the offense; the history and characteristics of the defendant; and the need to punish the defendant, protect the public and provide for the defendant's educational, vocational and medical needs. For these reasons, the statutory maximum penalty for the offense is not an accurate indicator of the potential sentence for a specific defendant.]
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