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Oklahoma City businesswoman indicted, accused of failing to pay $6.3M in tax bills

A federal grand jury has indicted an Oklahoma City businesswoman on 23 counts of tax evasion after she allegedly failed to pay more than $6.3 million in payroll taxes. 

According to the indictment, Janis Edwards, 66, was the sole owner of the Oklahoma City company Corporate Resource Management Inc., and a number of related companies with their principal place of business in Oklahoma City.

These companies operated as professional employer organizations or PEOs, serving small businesses in several states. Professional employer organizations serve other businesses by taking on responsibilities for paying their employees' payroll and collecting and paying payroll taxes to the IRS.

The employees of small businesses became employees of one of Edwards' entities, and their payroll taxes were to be paid under the tax identification number of one of those entities, authorities said.

According to the indictment, Edwards failed to pay substantial amounts of payroll taxes collected from small businesses.

The indictment alleges Edwards used the money her clients collected from businesses for payroll taxes for her personal living expenses, as well as the support of her son's training gym in Texas. 

Edwards is scheduled to be arraigned July 6, where she anticipates entering a plea of not guilty, said her attorney, Mark Henricksen. 

"We expect to challenge the government's case at trial," Henricksen said. 

The allegations

The 23 counts relate to quarterly payroll tax returns filed by Oklahoma Corporate Resource Inc.; Missouri Corporate Resource Inc.; and Texas Corporate Resource Inc. in 2010 and 2011.

The indictment alleges that Edwards regularly and intentionally directed her own employees to alter quarterly tax returns to reflect less payroll tax liability than what was actually owed.

For the 23 quarters identified in the indictment, Edwards is alleged to be responsible for more than $6.3 million in unreported payroll taxes.

If convicted, Edwards faces on each count a maximum penalty of five years in prison, three years of supervised release, a fine of $250,000, and the costs of prosecution.

This case is the result of an investigation by IRS-Criminal Investigations. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Scott E. Williams and Jessica L. Perry.

Brianna Bailey

Brianna Bailey joined The Oklahoman in January 2013 as a business writer. During her time at The Oklahoman, she has walked across Oklahoma City twice, once north-to-south down Western Avenue, and once east-to-west, tracing the old U.S. Route 66.... Read more ›