The former controller at a Burbank printing shop was sentenced Monday to 87 months in federal prison for embezzling $2.8 million from his employer, according to a release from the United States Attorney’s office for the Central District of California
Sean Edin Talaee, 63, of Glendale, also failed to report the stolen funds as income to the Internal Revenue Service, the office said.
Between October 2015 and June 2018, Talaee worked as controller at Printograph Inc., a commercial printing operation doing business as GotPrint.com. During that time, the company would make periodic estimated tax payments in which Talaee enabled the payments by bringing checks to the company’s president for her signature, according to the release.
On at least eight occasions, Talaee put his own taxpayer information when filling out the IRS voucher forms that accompanied the estimated tax payments. This allowed Talaee to claim the estimated tax payments for himself and caused the IRS to credit the payments to his own personal account. He later claimed a tax return of the payments, thus embezzling the funds from Printograph and effectively laundering the proceeds through the IRS.
These estimated tax payments allowed Talaee to receive a total of $2.78 million in fraudulent tax refunds.
“(Talaee) embezzled a significant amount of money from Printograph and exposed the company – and its owner personally – to potential tax liability stemming from his theft of the company’s tax payments,” prosecutors wrote in their sentencing memorandum. “He did so repeatedly over the course of two years for his own personal gain.”
Talaee pleaded guilty in May 2019 to one count of mail fraud and one count of subscribing to a false income tax return. He was sentenced Monday by U.S. District Judge Otis Wright II, who also ordered him to pay $2.9 million in restitution.