A contractor who helped the IRS educate tax professionals about tax law and compliance issues has learned a hard lesson on those subjects.
Brosim S. Ekpone, former president of Public Affairs International (PAI), was convicted of defrauding the IRS of more than $1 million and obstruction of a federal audit in connection with PAI's role in the agency's national tax forums.
Ekpone has been sentenced to a five-year jail term, three years of supervised release once he gets out and ordered to pay restitution of almost $1.38 million, according to WebCPA.
The IRS Nationwide Tax Forums forums typically offer three days of seminars, led by IRS staff and other tax experts, on tax law changes, policy, compliance issues and ethics. Tax practitioners, who pay a registration fee to attend, can earn continuing professional education (CPE) credits. In addition, exhibitors pay to showcase their tax-related products at an expo held in connection with the forums.
According to court documents, the IRS contract called for the Silver Spring, Md.-based PAI to use the fees from Tax Forum attendees and exhibitors to pay for expenses. At the end of the fiscal year, any surplus was to offset PAI's management fee. The IRS was would pay any outstanding balance after the Forum income was applied to the fee.
However, prosecutors said PAI executives under-reported Forum income and over-reported expenses from events held from 2000 through 2003. This made it appear there was no surplus to help cover the management charge, so the IRS paid PAI fees over those years totaling $1,379,630.