The indictment alleges that a certified public accountant embezzled almost $3 million from a trust created to pay tax obligations of a dissolving company, and before that he allegedly misappropriated $100,000 from a client he was helping with estate planning services.
David C. Weiss, Acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Delaware, announced today that an indictment was handed down by a federal grand jury on Tuesday, charging a Middletown man in a multi-million dollar fraud case.
Donald Rice, 54, of Middletown, was charged with wire fraud, bank fraud, money laundering and tax offenses, Weiss said.
Rice faces up to 30 years in prison on the bank fraud charges, up to 20 years in prison on the wire fraud charges, up to 10 years on the money laundering charge, three years on the filing a false tax return charge, and up to one year on the failure to file a tax return offense.
The indictment alleges that between 2013 and 2015, Rice, who was a certified public accountant, embezzled almost $3 million from a trust created to pay the tax obligations of a dissolving company.
While serving as the trustee, Rice allegedly used funds deposited into the trust account to finance his own business investments, including the purchase of multiple tax preparation franchises. Rice also used trust account funds for his personal expenses, including the purchase of a luxury vehicle, Weiss said.
The indictment alleges that Rice had previously defrauded another client. In 2011, while purportedly providing estate-planning services for a client, Rice allegedly misappropriated $100,000, which the client provided to Rice to invest on her behalf. The defendant instead used this money to fund his own business ventures and pay personal expenses, Weiss said.
Following that client’s death in 2012, Rice, who was also the executor of her estate, continued to collect her pension payments from a public employee retirement system, again using the funds for his personal benefit, Weiss said.
The indictment also alleges that Rice was engaged in income tax fraud. The federal tax return Rice filed for 2013 did not include, as required by law, his illegal income from his fraud scheme and materially understated his income. After seeking an extension of time to file a tax return for 2014, Rice never filed a return for that tax year.
Weiss said, “I want to thank both the Internal Revenue Service and the Federal Bureau of Investigation for their efforts in building this case. The theft of millions of dollars by a trusted professional is a brazen crime. The defendant’s further actions, victimizing an elderly woman who had entrusted him with funds and failing to abide by his own tax obligations, similarly demonstrate a blatant disregard for the law. We are committed to the prosecution of these types of offenses.”
This case is the result of an investigation conducted by the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Unit and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The prosecution is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Lesley Wolf.
The charges in the indictment are only allegations, Weiss said.