Multi-faceted U.S. Investigation of Failed Bank Leads To More Tax Evasion Charges

October 17, 2012
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Kentucky businessman Wilbur Huff was arrested on a $53-million tax evasion charge related to an ongoing U.S. investigation into failed financial institution Park Avenue Bank.

Several tax evasion probes have stemmed from the bank failure and investigations span several states, including Kentucky, New York, and Florida. Matthew Morris and Allen Reichman, both of New York, were also arrested in connection with the extensive tax law probe, and all three suspects have relationships with former Park Avenue president Charles Antonucci who plead guilty to securities fraud, bribery and embezzlement in 2010. More specifically, Antonucci admitted to trying to steal bailout funds issued to the bank via the federal Troubled Asset Relief Program. The three suspects are facing several indictments for related schemes and are considered to be co-conspirators in these complex investigations.

Huff, in particular, was responsible for running a payroll-servicing firm in Florida between 2008 and 2010, which was charged with managing federal tax payments to the Internal Revenue Service for three businesses. The funds that were intended for payroll taxes flowed directly through Park Avenue Bank. Rather than remitting these payments to the IRS, Huff reportedly stole $53 million in payroll tax funds to pay for homes, farm equipment, designer jewelry, clothing and luxury vehicles. If found guilty of 13 counts of tax evasion, wire fraud and conspiracy to commit bank robbery, the 51-year-old may face up to 30 years in prison.

Morris, the bank’s former senior vice president, and Reichman, former executive director of investments at investment bank Oppenheimer and Co., are facing their own related charges. Morris is facing five counts of conspiracy and fraud, while Reichman faces one count of conspiracy.