Los Angeles (April 13, 2004) -- A federal grand jury in Los Angeles has indicted a North Hollywood accountant for allegedly defrauding clients out of more than $100,000, in part by falsely telling them that they were being audited by the Internal Revenue Service.

David Scott Halcrow, 54, owner of Halcrow & Co. in Studio City, was indicted on 17 counts of mail fraud and six counts of possessing forged checks. Halcrow, who also used the name David Tate Scott, allegedly sent sham notices to some clients informing them that they'd been selected for IRS audits, persuaded them to hire him for the fake audits, and solicited retainer fees and billed additional fees to represent them before the IRS. According to the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Central District of California, he used the scheme to defraud clients out of approximately $14,342.

Halcrow also allegedly took payments from his clients that they expected to be submitted to the IRS to pay estimated taxes and deposited those payments to accounts for corporations that he set up -- including an account on established on behalf of his uncle without his uncle's nowledge. Halcrow then allegedly filed fraudulent income tax returns in the names of the corporations and his uncle and collected refund checks from the IRS totaling at least $76,671.

Halcrow is also charged with possessing checks that had been written by a client but had been altered to make them more valuable. According to the U.S. Attorney, he agreed to surrender to federal authorities this week and will be arraigned later this month in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles. If convicted, he faces a maximum statutory penalty of 165 years in federal prison.

-- WebCPA staff

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