The operator of a Glendale tax preparation business was sentenced Monday to 46 months in federal prison for defrauding his clients out of more than $1.2 million by diverting their tax refunds into his own bank accounts.
Michael Joseph Calalang Cabuhat, 42, of Hollywood Hills West was also ordered by U.S. District Judge John F. Walter to pay nearly $1.5 million in restitution to his victims and the Internal Revenue Service, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Walter, noting that Cabuhat used the stolen money to fund a luxurious lifestyle, called the scheme “vicious,” prosecutors said.
Cabuhat — half-owner of VisionQwest Resource Group Inc., which operates VisionQwest Accountancy Group and Icon Tax Group — admitted siphoning cash that belonged to at least 150 of his clients and failing to report the money on his own tax returns, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Cabuhat — who called himself “celebritytaxguy” in online postings — agreed to transfer to federal authorities $426,528 derived from the sale of his home and a Ferrari 360 Spider that was seized when he was arrested last year, prosecutors said.
He pleaded guilty a year ago in Los Angeles to federal charges of wire fraud and filing a false federal income tax return.
–City News Service