News Release

Contact: Office of Public Affairs
For Immediate Release
April 27, 2017

TRaCE Task Force Delivers Ohio Man's Conviction on Time

Sacramento – A two-year investigation by the Tax Recovery and Criminal Enforcement (TRaCE) Task Force, U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General (USPOIG), and Department of Insurance (DOI) uncovered a Steubenville, Ohio man's five-year scheme to avoid paying California income and employment taxes. Makram Hanna, 74, was sentenced on April 21, 2017, in Sacramento County Superior Court to 18 months of home detention and four years formal probation, and ordered to pay $53,645.91 in restitution and investigation-related costs.

On February 14, 2017, Hanna pleaded no contest to making a false statement to avoid or lower the amount of payroll taxes and income tax evasion. The investigation revealed that from 2009 to 2014, Hanna operated Transamerica Services and Technical Supply Inc., headquartered in Steubenville, which contracted with the USPS to transport mail between post offices in California and Nevada. Through investigation, it was discovered that Hanna failed to report all employee wages as required by law.

Of the restitution ordered, the Employment Development Department will receive $36,890.19, and the Franchise Tax Board will get $6,755.72 for his failure to report income tax. The remaining $10,000 is for other related costs associated with the investigation.

"The USPSOIG aids the Postal Service by aggressively investigating allegations of fraud, waste, and misconduct from contractors and postal employees who handle contracts. When criminal activity and contract improprieties are uncovered our agency investigates these matters to protect the overall integrity of the Postal Service," said USPSOIG Acting Special Agent in Charge, Glenn San Jose.

The Postal Service manages approximately 30,000 contract actions each fiscal year within its purchasing portfolios. Procurements range from multi-million dollar national contracts for services, such as those that support transportation networks and mail operations infrastructure, to small-dollar contracts that support local Post Office operations.

The TRaCE Task Force is made up of investigators and special agents from the California Department of Justice, Board of Equalization, California Attorney General's Office, Franchise Tax Board, Employment Development Department, Department of Motor Vehicles, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Internal Revenue Service and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations. The partnership was formed in 2014 to investigate criminal elements of the underground economy engaged in manufacturing, importation, distribution, and the sale of pirated intellectual property, as well as other crimes resulting from the evasion of business and income taxes.

The mission of the TRaCE Task Force is to combat organized elements of the underground economy engaged in the manufacture, importation, distribution, and sale of pirated intellectual property, and other economic crimes resulting in the evasion of business, payroll and/or income taxes.

TRaCE's central intake system for reporting a crime related to tax evasion, labor fraud, piracy, counterfeiting, and human trafficking is accessible via the Web or any mobile device instantly. Help TRaCE take down the underground economy – Report it, don't ignore it!

For more information on other taxes and fees in California, visit TRaCE's home page.