IceoPlex owner indicted on payroll tax charges

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The owner of the ice rink complex where the Pittsburgh Penguins practice has been charged with creating a shell company to avoid paying more than $1 million in payroll taxes for employees at his various businesses at the site. 

A federal grand jury on Tuesday indicted Steven Lynch, 59, a Squirrel Hill lawyer who owns the IceoPlex in Southpointe, on charges related to ordering his staff not to pay wage taxes, Social Security and Medicare contributions withheld from employee paychecks from 2008 through 2011. 

According to the indictment, Mr. Lynch ran the money through a shell corporation with no assets in order to foil the IRS.

Mr. Lynch is charged with 10 counts of willfully failing to pay the full amounts withheld and one count of corrupt obstruction of the Internal Revenue Code.

In addition to the ice rink, Mr. Lynch owned other businesses at the complex, including Body Tech at Southpointe, a sports bar and a residential real estate firm that operated under various corporate names.

In 2008, after the IRS took enforcement action against the assets of Mr. Lynch’s various corporate entities to collect the delinquent money owed, the indictment says, Mr. Lynch established a shell company with no assets called SRA Services and transferred his employees’ payroll accounts to that corporation.

Mr. Lynch set up SRA so that it would be “judgment proof,” prosecutors said, in that it would hold no assets beyond a minimal bank account and could not be successfully targeted by the IRS.

As a result, according to the indictment, when the IRS demanded some $477,000 in payroll taxes in 2008 and 2009, the agency was only able to collect about $6,000.

Later, when the government tried to seek a court injunction against SRA Services, prosecutors said Mr. Lynch created another shell company called SRA Employee Services and transferred the employee accounts to it.

Mr. Lynch was ordered to appear before a federal magistrate on Aug. 19.

 

Torsten Ove: tove@post-gazette.com.



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