Co-owner of Puyallup steel manufacturing company pleads guilty to tax evasion | USAO-WDWA
Tacoma – The co-owner and chief financial officer of a steel manufacturing company in Puyallup, Wash., pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in Tacoma to nine counts of failure to pay employment taxes, U.S. Attorney Nick Brown said. Donna Powell, 56, co-owns and operates Pinnacle Steel Fabricators, a company that manufactures steel parts. Donna Powell is the company’s secretary/treasurer and accounting officer. The indictment alleges that between 2010 and 2018, the company withheld approximately $1,167,891 in payroll taxes from employees’ paychecks and remitted none of those funds to the Internal Revenue System (IRS). ). Powell is due to be sentenced on November 7, 2022.
According to records filed in the case, the company has 15 to 20 employees. Between 2010 and 2018, Powell withheld the employees’ share of employment taxes from their paychecks, but did not remit the withheld funds to the government, as required by law. Each quarter, Powell was required by law to file Forms 941 with the IRS disclosing the amount of payroll taxes withheld. Powell did not file any Form 941s for the period between 2010 and the first quarter of 2018. Instead of paying taxes, Powell and her husband spent on personal interests such as travel ($32,000+), gambling in casinos ($41,000+), online gambling ($33,000+), and approximately $7,400 on spa and pool-related purchases.
“Like the movies, illegal pool parties are all fun and play until they’re not,” said Special Agent in Charge Bret Kressin, IRS Criminal Investigation (IRS:CI), Seattle Field Office. “Ms. Powell had bad intentions for her employees’ payroll deductions and stole those amounts to pay for her own vacations around the world, to fund her gambling and to help pay for a swimming pool. federal income taxes while contributing to medicare and social security isn’t as fun as going on vacation or putting in a pool decent people understand the need for those payroll deductions and pay their fair share.” Today’s guilty plea marks Ms. Powell’s recognition of this crucial life lesson.
Non-payment of taxes ultimately hurts employees whose compensation records are incomplete for Social Security, Medicare, and unemployment benefits. Employees can report concerns about federal withholding to the IRS and records can be corrected with documentation.
Willful non-payment of employment taxes is punishable by up to five years in prison.
The matter is being investigated by the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation (IRS:CI).
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Seth Wilkinson.