Former attorney and CPA Steven Krell has pleaded guilty to a tax charge in connection with the embezzlement of approximately $1,476,900 from two of his clients.
Krell, 61, a former partner with the Los Angeles accounting firm Green, Hasson and Janks pleaded guilty to a single count of subscribing to a false tax return. Prosecutors filed the charge in April.
According to Krells plea agreement, beginning in 1997 and continuing through 2003, he admitted to embezzling the money from two of his clients, a trust and a physician. Krell admitted that he used the embezzled funds for personal use and that he did not report the money on any of his tax returns for those years.
Krell admitted that he had signature authority over bank accounts belonging to the trust and the trusts owner, facilitating his withdrawal of funds. In the case of the physician, Krell falsely told the client that he was investing the funds the client provided to Krell when he was not.
Krell's former firm emphasized that the activity is old news. Steven Krell was employed at Green Hasson & Janks LLPfrom 1997 to 2003," said a statement from the firm. "Certain improprieties related to Mr. Krells work came to theattention of the firms leadership, which were immediately investigatedand dealt with. The partnership took timely and appropriate actions toproactively address the issues, including: fully cooperating with theauthorities; terminating him from the firm; and making whole anyaffected client.
As a part of his plea deal, Krell agreed to file amended tax returns for 1997 through 2003 reflecting the proceeds of the scheme. The amount of tax due totals $514,125. In addition to the taxes due, Krell agreed to be liable for the fraud penalty, which amounts to 75 percent of the tax due on the proceeds he embezzled.
When sentenced, Krell faces a maximum of three years in federal prison and fines totaling $250,000. U.S. District Judge Percy Anderson ordered Krell to appear for sentencing on Aug. 17.
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