'Ghost employees' at center of Connecticut tax evasion scheme

A former Connecticut business owner pleaded guilty to charges that she evaded tax liabilities by using company money to pay fake employees.

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Theresa Foreman, who operated a health care staffing agency in Stratford, Connecticut, was accused of taking money from her company – beginning as early as 2012 – to pay individuals that did not actually work for her.

About $413,000 worth of checks issued between May 2012 and December 2013 to these so-called “ghost employees” were deposited in an account belonging to Foreman’s brother. During the same time period, another $465,000 was withdrawn from the accounts in cash, cash back from deposits, or checks payable to Foreman.

Between August 2014 and November 2015, 101 cash deposits totaling $580,580 were put into a bank account in a family member’s name.

She also had her employees cash company checks and return the money to her, according to the Connecticut District Attorney’s Office.

All in all, the IRS estimates her conduct cost it $712,445.71.

The amounts Foreman received through the tax evasion scheme went unreported on federal tax returns sent to the Internal Revenue Service. She also allegedly owed tax from 2010 and 2011 and provided false statements regarding her income and assets to the IRS.

Foreman formerly lived in Madison, Connecticut, before moving to St. Cloud, Florida. She pleaded guilty to one count of tax evasion.

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She faces a prison sentence up to five years, a fine and an order of restitution. A sentencing date has not yet been scheduled.

Meanwhile, while headcount dwindles at the IRS, the agency estimates that it has lost hundreds of billions of dollars in unpaid taxes from business owners alone.