(The Center Square) – A Fayetteville man faces up to three years in prison after Tuesday pleaded guilty to failing to report nearly $25 million in income.
Christopher Scott Harrison, 56, was in federal court for willfully filing a false tax return. According to U.S. Attorneys, authorities allege that he withdrew nearly $25 million from staffing services firm Ebenconcept while he served as chief financial officer and majority owner.
“This businessman tried to avoid paying millions in federal taxes by disguising personal luxuries as business expenses. Harrison has diverted company funds to purchase nearly a million dollars worth of jewelry, including an estimated $145,000 Rolex watch, a $102,000 Cartier diamond necklace and a Tiffany bracelet $85,000,” said federal prosecutor Michel Easley. “Wealthy tax dodgers cannot be allowed to line their pockets at the expense of hard-working American taxpayers.”
Court records show that Harrison spent company money on his behalf as early as 2012, including jewelry and $300,000 on a swimming pool at his residence. When the expenses were exposed, Harrison filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, prompting a review of his finances.
An auditing firm hired by the bankruptcy trustee eventually discovered nearly $25 million in personal expenses that Harrison had reported as business expenses between tax years 2012 and 2018.
Harrison’s tax returns did not include the earnings, resulting in nearly $6 million in uncollected federal income taxes, according to U.S. Attorneys’ Office.
The investigation into Harrison’s tax fraud was led by the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Department, while Assistant US Attorney David Beraka prosecuted the case.
“The IRS enforces the tax laws of the country, but is also particularly interested in cases where someone fails to pay their fair share of taxes by intentionally not reporting all of their income,” said Donald Eakins, special counsel for the IRS Criminal Investigations in Charlotte . “IRS Criminal Investigation is proud to work with our law enforcement partners and provide expertise in these complex financial investigations.”
Chief US District Judge Richard E. Myers II accepted Harrison’s guilty plea. He faces up to three years in prison, redress to the IRS, and a possible fine.
According to prosecutors, Meyers Harrison is expected to sentence in the spring.