Former Member of Tax Services Firm Pleads Guilty in $20 Million Fraud Scheme
RICHMOND, VA—Sean M. Weaver, 33, of Alexandria, Virginia, pleaded guilty today to mail fraud and money laundering for filing false claims resulting in over $20 million in sales and use tax refunds to two corporate clients.
According to a statement of facts filed with the plea agreement, Weaver was a member of the transaction tax practice group in the Arlington, Virginia office of Ryan LLC, a tax services firm headquartered in Dallas, Texas. The transaction tax practice group specialized in submitting claims to state and local taxing authorities to obtain refunds of sales and/or use tax overpayments made by Ryan LLC’s corporate clients. Ryan LLC generally entered into compensation agreements with its clients whereby it would receive as a fee a percentage of the overpayments that it recovered on behalf of its clients.
Weaver managed a team of 10 to 15 employees and was responsible for submitting claims to the state taxing authorities on behalf of Ryan LLC’s clients. For engagements to which he and his team were assigned, Weaver would receive as a bonus payment a percentage of the fee received by Ryan LLC.
Between October 2011 and December 2014, Weaver submitted and caused to be submitted several false claims for sales and/or use tax refunds to the Virginia Department of Taxation and the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts on behalf of two of Ryan LLC’s corporate clients. In submitting the false claims, Weaver manipulated client transactional data and falsified invoices and other transactional records to inflate the amount of sales and/or use tax actually paid by the clients during certain transactions. As a result of the scheme, the state taxing authorities issued over $20 million in fraudulent refunds to Ryan LLC clients and Weaver received over $350,000 in personal bonus payments.
Ryan LLC voluntarily reported Weaver’s actions to law enforcement and fully cooperated in the investigation. As part of the plea agreement, Weaver admitted that he acted alone and that no one else from Ryan LLC or its clients took part in the scheme. Weaver further agreed to forfeit $250,480 seized by the United States as property involved in the offense and the value of his account with a peer-to-peer lending company.
Weaver faces a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison sentenced on December 1, 2015. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Adam S. Lee, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Richmond Field Office; Thomas Jankowski, Special Agent in Charge, Washington, D.C. Field Office, IRS-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI); and David G. Bowers, Acting Inspector in Charge of the Washington Division of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), made the announcement after the plea was accepted by U.S. District Judge John A. Gibney, Jr.
This case was investigated by the FBI’s Richmond Field Office, IRS-CI, and USPIS. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Dominick S. Gerace and Michael S. Dry are prosecuting the case.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 3:15-cr-139.