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Saddle River man who posed as accountant gets four years in prison

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot File Photo

YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: A Saddle River man who claimed to be an accountant was sentenced to four years in prison today for stealing $189,787 in checks that small business clients wrote to pay sales taxes or payroll withholding taxes to New Jersey, New York and the U.S. government.

Under the terms of a plea deal, 47-year-old Wayne Dunich Kolb paid full restitution of $189,787 to both states.

He also agreed to pay $85,991 representing interest on the stolen tax payments.

Superior Court Judge Thomas M. Brown also ordered that Dunich Kolb “never again hold himself out as an accountant or prepare any tax returns” other than his own.

“Prison is the right sentence for this defendant, who embezzled money over and over again,” state Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa said this afternoon. “He took advantage of the trust of his clients so that he could bankroll a lifestyle characterized by a luxury home, expensive cars and extensive travel.

“Meanwhile, he left many of the clients to face claims for delinquent taxes.”

As part of his plea arrangement, Dunich Kolb admitted on Sept. 14 that from January 2003 to January 2009, he stole 56 checks totaling $129,278 that clients wrote to pay business sales taxes to the State of New Jersey; seven checks totaling $7,151 that a client wrote to pay payroll withholding taxes to the State of New York; and 22 checks totaling $53,358 that clients wrote to pay federal payroll withholding taxes to the IRS.

He said he deposited the checks into bank accounts he maintained.

Authorities later discovered that he concealed the thefts by either failing to file tax returns for the clients or filing returns falsely indicating the businesses owed no taxes, Chiesa said.

He wasn’t even an accountant, state authorities said.

In 1996, the New Jersey State Board of Accountancy obtained a court order requiring Dunich Kolb to cease and desist from holding himself out to the public as a certified public accountant because he did not have a CPA license.

Yet he “continued to present himself as a certified public accountant specializing in the area of tax planning for small businesses,” Chiesa said.

Deputy Attorney General Denise Grugan prosecuted the case following an investigation by the Division of Taxation’s Office of Criminal Investigation and the Division of Criminal Justice, conducted by Auditors Kevin Curry and Debra Lewaine of the Division of Taxation and Grugan herself.

“Hardworking business owners and consumers who hire a financial services provider to help them keep their finances in order can’t afford to be taken by a dishonest operator,” said Director Stephen J. Taylor of the Division of Criminal Justice. “By sending defendants like this one to prison, we will deter others in the industry who might consider defrauding their clients.”

It began after the Division of Taxation conducted a compliance audit of a small business that hired Dunich Kolb to prepare its New Jersey tax returns.

The DOC investigation that followed revealed that Dunich Kolb told clients to send their tax payments to him, saying that he would forward the payment to the state or federal government along with the client’s tax return.

After Dunich Kolb stole their checks, diverting the funds into his bank accounts, some clients received delinquency notices from the government.

They reported that they alerted Dunich Kolb, who told them he would take care of the issue, Chiesa said.

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