Holland Attorney Charged With Defrauding Clients And Filing A False Federal Income Tax Return
Attorney Jeffrey Palmer Admits Embezzling More Than $339,000 From Clients and Underreporting Income to the Internal Revenue Service
GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN — United States Attorney Andrew Birge announced today that Jeffrey James Palmer, a resident of Holland, Michigan, has been charged with making a false statement on a federal income tax return and wire fraud. Palmer has agreed to waive indictment by the grand jury and plead guilty to those charges. Palmer also agreed to pay the Internal Revenue Service additional tax due and owing for tax years 2012 through 2016 (approximately $55,511, before interest and penalties) and restitution to his victims (approximately $339,520).
In a written plea agreement filed today with the Court, Palmer admitted that he embezzled and converted to his own use approximately $339,520 of client trust funds while licensed and practicing as an attorney. Between 2012 and 2016, Palmer withdrew approximately $274,856 from one client trust account and about $64,664 in funds from a second client trust account. He did not disclose to his clients that he was withdrawing their funds for his own personal use and benefit.
In addition to the scheme to defraud his clients, Palmer admitted that he failed to report as income the funds he embezzled on his federal income tax returns. Specifically, and by way of example, Palmer failed to report $82,000 of income on his federal Form 1040, which he signed and filed with the IRS under penalty of perjury in January 2017.
Palmer faces a maximum of 20 years in federal prison for his embezzlement from his clients and up to three years in prison for the federal tax violation. He also faces the possibility of a suspension or revocation of his license to practice law in Michigan.
This matter was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation division and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher M. O’Connor.
A date and time for Palmer’s arraignment and plea has not been scheduled. The charge in a felony information is merely an accusation, and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in court.