Wednesday, November 14, 2001

Waipahu man fined after
fraudulent tax preparation

By Debra Barayuga

A Waipahu man who filed fraudulent tax returns for clients while working for his father's tax preparation business was sentenced to five years probation and $30,000 in fines.

Circuit Judge Michael Town decided against prison for Richard Basuel II, 31, despite previous convictions for gambling and failing to file his general excise and personal income taxes.

But he warned Basuel, "You're on very close watch."

Town also ordered Basuel to perform 200 hours of community service and write a letter of apology to the director of the state Department of Taxation.

At least $12,000 of the total fine is due within 30 days.

Basuel's attorney, Howard Chang, who argued for probation, said his client committed the offenses because of the control exerted by his father Richard Basuel, sole proprietor of RB Tax Service.

When asked why his conduct continued for so long, Basuel II said he never questioned his parents' judgment and just went along even if he knew what he was doing was wrong.

Deputy Attorney General Rick Damerville had requested probation and jail time based on Basuel's previous criminal record.

Basuel admitted to preparing false tax returns for clients while he was awaiting sentencing for failing to file his GET and personal income tax returns.

He had specifically asked to delay his sentencing for failing to file because of the busy tax season, Damerville said.

State tax investigator Stephen Hironaka said the court failed to send a message of deterrence to others in deciding against prison for Basuel, given this was his third criminal offense.

"We wanted jail because it's not fair for those filing and paying their taxes.".

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