A CPA from Dayton, Ohio, was sentenced to serve over a year in prison and a year of supervised release for helping the owners of the Cadillac Ranch restaurant chain evade taxes.
Larry E. Couchot, 59, the president and part owner of a CPA firm in Centerville, Ohio, was also ordered by U.S. District Judge Edmund A. Sargus Jr. in Columbus, Ohio, to pay $40,711 in restitution and a $10,000 fine, and to serve four months of community confinement followed by two months of home confinement following his prison term.
Couchot’s sentencing Thursday follows the sentencing of three of his tax clients, Jon B. Field, of Dublin, Ohio, Paul A. Butler, also of Dublin, and Eric P. Schilder, of Marion, Ohio, who were all associated with Cadillac Ranch restaurants.
Couchot pleaded guilty in June to two tax fraud charges and admitted that he assisted in the preparation of false individual income tax returns for his clients, Field, Butler and Schilder, which caused a tax loss of over $191,000 to the IRS. Field, along with his associates Butler and Schilder and his brother Joel Field, owned and operated the Cadillac Ranch restaurant enterprise.
Joel A. Field also pleaded guilty to tax charges earlier this year, but his tax charges were unrelated to Couchot. His sentencing is scheduled to take place in November.
According to prosecutors, Couchot prepared false federal income tax returns from 2006 through 2010 for his clients Jon B. Field, Butler and Schilder.
The three clients allegedly used a substantial amount of the company’s funds for personal purposes, which included payments for their personal cars, car insurance, country club dues and their individual income tax liabilities. They also made substantial charges for personal purposes on credit cards that were paid for with company funds.
Couchot also admitted that he believed that Jon B. Field used company funds to pay for personal expenditures, including lawn services, repairs and maintenance to personal residences, granite counter tops, TV and audio systems, and other expenditures that were personal in nature.
Couchot pleaded guilty to aiding and assisting in the preparation of a false income tax return for the year 2009 for Jon B. Field, and to preparing a false income tax return for Schilder for the year 2007 which reported only $68,000 of income despite the fact that the business records of the company showed that Shilder earned over $129,000 in that year.
Couchot admitted that after the false return was filed with the IRS on behalf of Schilder, he created a false summary which he retained in his records to support the false income of $68,000. The clients were sentenced for their crimes by Judge Sargus earlier this year, and Jon B. Field was sentenced to serve time in jail for his conduct.
The cases were investigated by the IRS-Criminal Investigation unit and are being prosecuted by trial attorney Richard M. Rolwing and senior litigation counsel John E. Sullivan of the Justice Department’s Tax Division.
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