Husband and wife charged with tax evasion
HOUSTON – Two people have been charged with aiding and abetting each another in the evasion of $3.5 million in diverted corporate income, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick along with acting IRS – Criminal Investigation (CI) Special Agent in Charge Ramsey Covington.
Asim Lodhi and wife Naila Lodhi are expected to make their initial appearances before U.S. Magistrate Judge Christina Bryan today.
The indictment, returned Sept. 10, alleges the Lodhis owned and operated U. S. Loss Prevention Inc. and Vanguard Detective & Security Agency, Inc. The company provided contract security services for commercial clients in the Houston and Dallas/Fort Worth metropolitan areas. The indictment alleges from during 2008 through 2011, the couple diverted and cashed approximately $3.5 million in client fee checks through two local check cashing services. The checks should have been deposited directly into the corporate bank accounts and disclosed to their accountants as taxable sales, according to the charges.
When necessary, Asim and Naila Lodhi allegedly later deposited approximately $2.5 million in proceeds of the check cashing activity into their personal and corporate accounts to pay corporate and living expenses. However, they described these delayed cash deposits to their accountants as non-taxable loans from friends rather than taxable sales according to the indictment. .
The charges allege that when their corporate and personal tax returns came under investigation in 2013, the Lodhis hired new accountants. These people then allegedly proposed amendments that would have converted the “loan deposits” made to the corporate accounts into taxable sales, profits and dividends. However, the defendants did not reveal approximately $1 million in diverted cash that was not deposited to any account and remained a secret, according to the charges.
The indictment further alleges the deception continued into 2014 when they made misleading statements to the IRS.
If convicted, Asim and Naila Lodhi face a maximum of five years in federal prison on each count as well as a possible $250,000 maximum fine.
IRS-CI conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jimmy Sledge Jr. is prosecuting the case.
An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence.
A defendant is presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law.