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Puyallup steel owner pleads guilty to tax evasion


The co-owner and financial manager of a steel manufacturing company in Puyallup, Washington, was accused of using more than $1 million in payroll taxes on Fridays for personal expenses, including vacations, gambling and swimming pools, in tax evasion. pleaded guilty to Washington announced.

Donna Powell, 56, was indicted in U.S. District Court in February on nine counts of failing to pay $1,167,891 in federal payroll taxes over eight years. You deducted the funds but did not file your employer’s quarterly tax returns, Form 941, from 2010 through the first quarter of 2018.

This type of employment tax “willful omission” is punishable by up to five years in prison.

Located at 14021 Pioneer Way, Puyallup, Pinnacle Steel Fabricators employs 15 to 20 people to manufacture steel components. In addition to co-owning her business with her husband, Dane Powell, Donna Powell served as the company’s secretary/treasurer and accounting manager, according to state revenue filings.

Employers are required by law to file a Form 941 with the IRS detailing the amount of payroll tax that will be deducted from an employee’s paycheck. Instead of paying these taxes properly to her IRS, she and her husband spent the money on themselves, according to the indictment.

They spent at least $32,000 on trips to international destinations, including trips to Europe, Mexico City and Jamaica, according to the February indictment. , dropped about $41,000. Online games also paid him $33,000.

At least $7,400 in “spa and pool-related purchases” were also part of their plan, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

“Like the movies, all illegal pool parties are fun and games until they’re no longer,” said Brett Cressin, an agent at the Seattle Field Office responsible for the IRS criminal investigation into the case.

“MS. Powell was malicious about employee payroll deductions and stole these amounts to help pay for vacations to travel around the world, fund gambling, and pay for pools,” he said. said in a press release: “Paying federal income taxes to Medicare and Social Security is not as fun as going on vacation or being in the pool, but honest people understand the need for these payroll deductions. and pay their fair share.Today’s guilty plea shows that Ms. Powell has recognized this important life lesson.”

The release adds that if businesses fail to remit taxes to their legal destinations, they “ultimately hurt employees with incomplete income records for Social Security, Medicare, and unemployment benefits.” . These errors can be corrected if the employee contacts her IRS regarding federal withholding concerns.

Powell is scheduled to be sentenced on November 7.

This story was originally published August 6, 2022 at 1:00 p.m.

Kristine Sherred joined The News Tribune in December 2019 after ten years working in restaurants, liquor wholesalers and cookbooks in Chicago. She previously ran Industry Dive and William Reed’s food business. Find her on her Instagram @kcsherred and her Twitter @kriscarasher.
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