Credit Where Credit Is Due

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A clock with tax time sticky note and calculator on the desk.

Fraudsters know a good accountant when they see one, which is probably why Mustafa Qadiri, charged with $5 million COVID-19 Paycheck Protection Program fraud, used Bernard Turk instead as his accountant. On July 15, 2022, Turk, a San Fernando Valley accountant pleaded guilty to federal charge for preparing a false corporate tax return on behalf of Qadiri’s PPP scheme.

Turk, a certified public accountant, who ran a tax preparation business knew that Qadiri was filing for a PPP loan using one of his fake companies called Agency 126. Agency 126 had no employees, no paid wages and no filed tax returns with the IRS. It was a sham and Turk knew it.

But in exchange for a percentage of the loan proceeds, Turk filed a false federal corporate income tax return, claiming that Agency 126 had paid employees over $5.3 million in wages during the 2019 tax year. Turk provided the false return to support the loan but to hide his involvement, Turk marked the false tax return as “self-prepared.”

Fraudsters like to give credit where credit is due. Qadiri electronically submitted the false tax return that Turk prepared to the Small Business Administration, but he removed the “self-prepared” designation and replaced it with Turk as the preparer.

Believing the information on the false tax return to be true, the bank approved and funded Agency 126 with $1.2 million. Qadiri, allegedly used 3 other companies and obtained an additional $4 million in PPP funds without the help of Turk.

Great job by the FBI and IRS Criminal Investigation investigated this matter.

Today’s “Fraud of the Day” is based on an article posted in the City News on July 15, 2022

Tarzana Accountant Pleads Guilty to Role in $1.2M Fraud Scheme

LOS ANGELES (CNS) – A San Fernando Valley accountant pleaded guilty Friday to a federal criminal charge for helping a long-time client fraudulently obtain a $1.2 million COVID-19 business loan by preparing a false corporate tax return on the client’s behalf.

Bernard Turk, 73, of Tarzana, entered his plea to one count of wire fraud, a crime that carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Turk, a certified public accountant who runs a tax preparation business, admitted helping long-time client Mustafa Qadiri, 39 of Irvine, submit a false application for a Paycheck Protection Program loan on behalf of the client’s company, Agency 126, a purported marketing and video production agency based in Orange County.

 

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Larry Benson, Senior Director of Strategic Alliances, LexisNexis Risk Solutions - Government

Larry Benson is responsible for developing strategic partnerships and solutions for the government vertical. His expertise focuses on how government programs are defrauded by criminal groups, and the approaches necessary to prevent them from succeeding.

Mr. Benson has 30 years of experience in sales and business development. Before joining LexisNexis® Risk Solutions, he spent 12 years founding and managing two software technology startups. During the 1990s he spent 10 years as a Regional Director helping to grow a New England-based technology company from 300 employees to 7,000. He started his career with Martin Marietta Aerospace working on laser guided weapons and day/night vision systems.

A sought-after speaker and accomplished writer, Mr. Benson is the principal author of “Fraud of the Day,” a website dedicated to educating government officials about how criminals are defrauding government programs. He has co-authored WTF? Where’s the Fraud? How to Unmask and Stop Identity Fraud’s Drain on Our Government, and Data Personified, How Fraud is Changing the Meaning of Identity.

Benson holds a Bachelor of Science in Physics from Albright College, and earned two graduate degrees – a Master of Business Administration from Florida Institute of Technology, and a Master of Science in Engineering from Lehigh University.