PHILADELPHIA — A Chester County man who worked as an accountant has been convicted of tax evasion and failing to file tax returns after a trial in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia.
Michael Goldner, 51, of Malvern, has been charged by the United States Attorney’s Office with charges stemming from his alleged scheme to use his money and his employer’s business bank accounts to hide his real income and thus avoid to pay its legitimate tax obligations.
Goldner was charged in June 2021 with one count of tax evasion and two counts of failure to report personal income, according to a press release from U.S. attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams.
Evidence presented at his trial, which ended with a guilty verdict on Friday, showed that for the 2013 to 2017 tax years, Goldner reported more than $4 million in income and $1.8 million in dollars in taxes owed, of which he paid less than $100,000. Moreover, from 2016 to 2020, the defendant evaded the payment of these unpaid taxes while earning a substantial income.
Instead of depositing his paychecks into a personal bank account, he cashed the checks and used his employer’s business accounts to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in personal expenses, including rent, a second home, groceries, private school and dance lessons for his child, country club dues and restitution from a previous fraud conviction for which he was on federal probation.
For the years 2016 and 2017, the defendant filed tax returns that did not report this additional income from his employer. For the 2018 and 2019 tax years, the defendant did not file any returns at all.
In 2015, Goldner pleaded guilty to wire fraud and tax evasion after defrauding potential investors. He was on probation for the case at the time of his arrest in the ongoing tax evasion case, having been convicted in 2016 and ordered to pay $5 million in restitution.
Next, Goldner was an accountant and owned a real estate investment firm, Arcadia Capital Group, Inc., which he started in 2003 with three other people. Arcadia ceased operations in the fourth quarter of 2009 and had been in bankruptcy since the first quarter of 2009. Prior to 2007 and through 2009, Goldner solicited individuals to invest in various real estate investments. Goldner promised at least one victim a promissory note that he said would provide for regular payments and “occasional additional payments.”
A victim invested $25,000 on July 25, 2008, via a transfer from his self-directed IRA. This victim then received a promissory note. At the time of this investment, Arcadia’s bank account was overdrawn. Immediately after this investment, Goldner repaid three previous investors and made a payment to LG Financial, which held a mortgage on a property partly owned by Goldner.
Records from the Arcadia bank account show that from 2007 until Goldner closed the account in 2009, nearly $10 million was withdrawn from the account, with less than $1 million earmarked for possible real estate transactions. The remaining funds went to Goldner, his associates and previous investors.
“The US tax system provides essential government services to our people,” Williams said. “Every time someone cheats the tax system, the burden of providing vital services increases for taxpayers who pay their fair share. As a professional accountant, this defendant knew what his obligations were and deliberately chose to ignore them, even though he was on federal probation for a previous fraud conviction. The jury’s verdict sent a clear message that tax evasion will not be tolerated.
“Mr. Goldner has gone to great lengths not to pay taxes, including hiding money from the IRS,” said IRS Criminal Investigations Special Agent Yury Kruty. In all the steps he took to hide his money, he disregarded the characteristic expertise of IRS special agents when it comes to tracking money. he could fly under the radar, but today’s verdict shows how futile his efforts were.
“‘If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again’ really shouldn’t be a fraudster’s mantra,” said Jacqueline Maguire, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Philadelphia division. “But Michael Goldner apparently thought he would give it a whirl. Hopefully this second federal conviction will have more impact than the first. To put it plainly: if you continue to defraud the government and deceive honest taxpayers, the FBI and our partners will continue to lock you up.
The case has been investigated by the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigations and the Federal Bureau of Investigation and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney David Ignall and the Department of Justice Prosecutor for the tax section of the Jack Morgan Criminal Division.
To contact editor Michael P. Rellahan, call 610-696-1544.