Dearborn Heights Former School Board Member Pleads Guilty to Tax Fraud

On August 15, U.S Attorney Barbara L. McQuade announced that Janey Golani, a 54-year-old former Crestwood school board member, pleaded guilty to willfully filing false tax returns. Golani is a former education trustee of the board, and was employed by Hind Oram as office manager of several companies, including International Outdoor Advertising. She pleaded guilty before Judge Stephen J. Murphy, III in U.S. District Court on August 14.

Golani embezzled money from Hind Oram beginning in 2006 and continuing through 2009, however she intentionally did not report the embezzled income on the federal tax returns she filed.

Jarod Koopman, IRS criminal investigation agent out of the Detroit Field Office, said that income that is gained illegally is subject to income tax, a fact made very clear in the Internal Revenue Tax Code. Even income that is embezzled is subject to federal income tax.

In 2008, Golani understated her income by more than $234,000. Over the four-year time span from 2006 through 2009, Golani did not report the embezzled funds on her federal income tax returns. According to McQuade, this resulted in a tax loss in excess of $225,000.

The IRS – Criminal Investigation division investigated Golani’s case; she is scheduled to be sentenced before Judge Murphy on January 9, 2015.

Many people who embezzle money from their employers are understandably afraid to report that money on their federal income tax returns, not only out of fear of being caught, but in order to avoid paying additional tax. Regardless of whether income is obtained in an illegal manner, it is still subject to income tax.

Janey Golani has been charged with embezzling from her employer and filing false tax returns, both which are serious charges. Although she did plead guilty, the criminal penalties for these types of white collar crimes are harsh.

In Michigan, the crime of embezzlement of money or property valued at more than $100,000 is a felony. Individuals who are found guilty may be sentenced to a maximum of 20 years in prison, and fined up to $50,000 or three times the value of the money/property, whichever is greater. In many cases, individuals who plead guilty and avoid going to trial may receive a sentence that is less harsh. Filing fraudulent tax returns is a serious matter as well which will result in prison time and fines. We will learn of Golani’s fate when she is sentenced in January.

Although white collar crimes do not generally involve any type of violence, they are financial crimes which may be prosecuted at the federal level and are extremely serious. Anyone who has been arrested or is under investigation for embezzling, tax fraud, money laundering, or any similar offense must consult with a skilled and reputable Michigan criminal defense attorney.

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