LOS ANGELES (CNS) - A Glendale man who embezzled $2.8 million from the commercial printing company where he worked and filed false tax returns with the Internal Revenue Service faces a likely federal prison sentence today.
Sean Talaee, 63, pleaded guilty last year in Los Angeles federal court to mail fraud and submitting a false tax return, charges which carry a total maximum possible sentence of 23 years behind bars.
His attorneys are asking U.S. District Judge Otis D. Wright II to impose a five-year prison term and restitution of about $805,000. The government's sentencing position is filed under seal.
According to his plea agreement, Talaee worked as the controller overseeing the accounting and tax payments of Printograph Inc., a Burbank-based commercial printing company that does business as GotPrint.com, between October 2015 and June 2018. At the time, Printograph made a series of periodic estimated tax payments, which were based on the company's expected gross income, deductions, and credits for each year. To enable these estimated tax payments, Talaee brought company checks to Printograph's president and sole owner -- who had signing authority for the company's bank account -- for her signature prior to their submission to the IRS.
On at least eight separate occasions, Talaee obtained company checks from Printograph's president but instead inserted his own taxpayer information when filling out the IRS voucher forms that accompanied the estimated tax payments. By using his own information -- and not the company's -- Talaee was able to claim the estimated tax payments for himself and caused the IRS to credit the payments to his own personal account, thereby embezzling the funds from Printograph and effectively laundering the embezzled proceeds through the IRS.
During the course of the scheme, Talaee embezzled $2.8 million from his employer and falsely claimed estimated tax payments in that amount for the years 2015, 2016 and 2017, according to court documents. These estimated tax payments allowed Talaee to receive a total of $2.77 million in fraudulent tax refunds for these years, court papers state. Talaee failed to report the embezzled money as income, causing a total tax loss of $740,085.
Talaee wrote that he had “basically ruined my life with my actions,'' according to a letter filed with the court.
“My life is broken and I know I only have myself to blame,'' the defendant wrote. “Nevertheless, I am resolute on making amends and trying to repair my life and the damage I have caused. I know I only have about 10 to 15 years of working life left, and would like to be able to try to put my life back together.''