A federal grand jury in Charleston, West Virginia, today returned an indictment accusing a Pineville man of knowingly failing to pay employment taxes and obstructing the IRS’ tax collection efforts.
According to the indictment, Christopher J. Smyth operates Best Ambulance Service Inc., Stat Ambulance Service Inc. and Stat EMS LLC of Wyoming County, all of which provide ambulance services in Wyoming County, West Virginia. Smith is said to be responsible for collecting and paying the IRS for employment taxes withheld from the wages of employees at the three companies. Although he allegedly withheld the funds from the wages of Stat Ambulance Service employees, Smyth did not pay the IRS the full amount withheld by the employees or the full employer’s share. After the IRS penalized Smyth for not paying those funds, he allegedly stopped the Stat Ambulance Service and created Stat EMS in the name of the nominated owner. However, Smyth allegedly continued to run the new ambulance business in the same manner as the former company and did not pay the IRS all employment taxes owed on behalf of Stat EMS employees.
After the IRS attempted to collect unpaid employment taxes for Stat EMS and the resulting penalties, Smyth allegedly attempted to obstruct the IRS by making false and misleading statements. Specifically, the indictment alleges that Smyth said he had no Stat EMS and no personal bank account. To further hinder IRS collection efforts, Smyth allegedly made personal payments from Stat EMS’ business bank account, transferred funds from Stat EMS to bank accounts he controlled, and transferred his own salary to another person’s name in the bank account.
Smyth is scheduled to make his first appearance in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia at a future date. If convicted, Smith faces up to five years in prison for each of four counts of willfully failing to pay employment taxes and three years for obstructing the IRS. A federal district court judge will determine any sentencing after considering U.S. sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors.
The announcement was made by Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stewart Goldberg and U.S. Attorney William Thompson of the Southern District of West Virginia.
The IRS Criminal Investigation Service is investigating the case.
Trial attorneys Alexander Effendi and Andrew Ascencio of the tax department and Assistant U.S. Attorney Erik Goes of the Southern District of West Virginia are prosecuting the case.
The indictment is just one charge, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in court.