Baltimore, Md. – Harshe Shende, 57, of Hanover, Md., Pleaded guilty on May 4, 2021 to eight counts of non-payment of employment taxes to the Internal Revenue Service in the amount of $ 258,905 .
The guilty plea was announced by the Acting United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Jonathan F. Lenzner and Acting Special Agent in Charge Darrell J. Waldon of the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation, Washington, DC Field Office.
According to Shende’s guilty plea, he was the sole owner and resident agent of Progressive Rehab Services, LLC, established on September 10, 2004, which employed physiotherapists and occupational therapists who visited nursing homes to render services. to patients. Shende was the sole signer of two bank accounts he opened for the company at separate banks in 2008 and 2013, respectively. Shende accumulated significant debts for Progressive Rehab by filling out forms with the IRS that showed the amount of income tax withholding he had collected from Progressive Rehab employees and their withholding tax. ‘Medicare and Social Security (collectively employment taxes), but not paying employment taxes to the IRS. Shende also failed to pay the employers’ share of employment taxes to the IRS. The IRS continued collection activity against Progressive Rehab.
As detailed in his plea agreement, on March 16, 2006, Shende and his then wife incorporated Progressive Health Group, Inc. (“Progressive Health”) in Maryland, with the stated purpose of providing rehabilitation services to homes. nursing, hospitals and assisted living services. and home health. Shende was listed as an executive director on two bank accounts he opened for the company at separate banks in 2008 and 2012, respectively. Shende cited the same address in Columbia, Maryland, for Progressive Health as for Progressive Rehab.
Shende admitted that starting around April 2009, he got the employees of Progressive Rehab to do the same job, but he billed their work using the name of Progressive Health and paid their salaries using the bank account. from Progressive Health. Progressive Health has withheld payroll taxes from the paychecks of its employees, including Federal Income Tax, Medicare, and Social Security (“FICA”). As he did with Progressive Rehab, Shende filed forms with the IRS for Progressive Health showing the amount of employment taxes withheld. However, as he did with Progressive Rehab, Shende made a conscious choice not to pay the taxes withheld from the wages of Progressive Health employees to the IRS, nor to pay the employer’s share of the taxes on the IRS. employment.
As a result, Shende did not pay the IRS a total of $ 155,838.15 in employment taxes withheld in the 2014 and 2015 tax years and did not pay the IRS a total of $ 103,066.85, which is the employer’s share of employment taxes for the 2014 and 2015 tax years.
Shende faces a maximum sentence of five years in federal prison for non-payment of employment taxes. U.S. District Chief Justice James K. Bredar scheduled the sentencing for July 23, 2021 at 2:00 p.m.
Acting US Attorney Jonathan F. Lenzner praised the IRS-CI for its work in the investigation. Mr. Lenzner thanked Assistant US Attorney Joyce K. McDonald, who is pursuing the case.
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