Sep 14, 2012

North Carolina Businessman Sentenced to 12 Years in Prison for Payroll Tax Fraud

Bruce Gregory Harrison III of Greensboro, N.C., was sentenced on September 5th to 144 months in prison following his December 2011 conviction for payroll tax fraud and other crimes, announced Kathryn Keneally, Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Tax Division; Ripley Rand, U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of North Carolina; and Richard Weber, Chief of Internal Revenue Service (IRS) – Criminal Investigation.

Harrison was convicted on a 63-count indictment alleging large-scale payroll tax fraud and failure to file individual income tax returns. The evidence at trial and at sentencing showed that Harrison failed to pay over more than $40 million dollars in federal taxes withheld from the pay of his thousands of employees in the years 2004-2006 and 2009.

According to the trial evidence and other documents filed in the case, Harrison did business under various corporate names including U.S.A. Staffing and Compensation Management Inc. He owned or controlled temporary staffing companies operating in at least nine states. Harrison’s staffing companies were headquartered in Guilford County, N.C., and contracted with client businesses to provide temporary workers. Harrison’s companies promised to assume full responsibility for the payment of wages and the withholding and transmitting of taxes to the IRS for those employees. Instead, Harrison failed to account for and pay over in excess of $40 million in federal payroll taxes for the employees of those companies. The evidence at trial showed that Harrison caused false bank statements to be presented to auditors to conceal the nonpayment of the payroll taxes.

Harrison was also convicted of corruptly endeavoring to obstruct the IRS by means of false statements to IRS revenue officers. Evidence established he had used company funds to purchase personal residences, to buy a yacht and to finance commercial motion pictures, including National Lampoon’s Pucked and Home of the Giants. Harrison was also convicted of failing to timely file his own income tax returns for 2004, 2005 and 2006.

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