Los Angeles, California - A controller for a commercial printing company has pleaded guilty to tax and mail fraud charges for embezzling $2.8 million from his employer and failing to report the stolen funds as income to the Internal Revenue Service.
Sean Edin Talaee, 62, of Glendale, pleaded guilty on Monday to one count of mail fraud and one count of subscribing to a false income tax return. United States District Judge Otis D. Wright II has scheduled an August 19 sentencing hearing, where Talaee will face a statutory maximum sentence of 23 years in federal prison.
According to his plea agreement, between October 2015 and June 2018, Talaee worked as the controller overseeing the accounting and tax payments of Printograph, Inc., a Burbank-based commercial printing company that does business as GotPrint.com. During this time period, Printograph made a series of periodic estimated tax payments, which were based on the company’s expected gross income, deductions, and credits for each year. To enable these estimated tax payments, Talaee brought company checks to Printograph’s president and sole owner – who had signing authority for the company’s bank account – for her signature prior to their submission to the IRS.
On at least eight separate occasions, Talaee obtained company checks from Printograph’s president but instead inserted his own taxpayer information when filling out the IRS voucher forms that accompanied the estimated tax payments. By using his own information – and not the company’s – Talaee was able to claim the estimated tax payments for himself and caused the IRS to credit the payments to his own personal account, thereby embezzling the funds from Printograph and effectively laundering the embezzled proceeds through the IRS.
During the course of the scheme, Talaee embezzled $2.8 million from his employer and falsely claimed estimated tax payments in that amount for the years 2015, 2016, and 2017, according to court documents. These estimated tax payments allowed Talaee to receive a total of $2,778,994 in fraudulent tax refunds for these years, court papers state. Talaee failed to report the embezzled money as income for these tax years, causing a total tax loss of $740,085.
This case was investigated by IRS Criminal Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
This matter is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Alexander Wyman of the Major Frauds Section.