A Glendale man was sentenced Monday to 87 months in federal prison for embezzling $2.8 million from the commercial printing company where he worked and filing false tax returns.
Sean Edin Talaee, 63, was also ordered by U.S. District Judge Otis D. Wright II to pay $2.9 million in restitution. The defendant pleaded guilty last year in Los Angeles federal court to mail fraud and submitting a false tax return.
In a letter to the court, Talaee wrote that he had “basically ruined” his life by committing the crimes.
“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.”
Printograph Inc., the Burbank company that employed Talaee, filed its own response, calling the defendant’s letter “a pity party.”
According to his plea agreement, Talaee worked as the controller overseeing the accounting and tax payments of Printograph 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.
It was part of Talaee’s job to bring company checks to Printograph’s president and sole owner — who had signing authority for the company’s bank account — for her signature prior to the estimated tax payment 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, prosecutors said. By using his own information — and not the company’s — Talaee was able to claim the estimated tax payments for himself and have the payments credited to his own personal account, teffectively 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. The 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.