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State of California Franchise Tax Board

Brentwood Man Sentenced to Five Years State Prison for Tax Evasion and Grand Theft

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For Immediate Release


Sacramento – A Brentwood man was sentenced today to five years in state prison for multiple felony counts of grand theft, embezzlement with “Aggravated White Collar Crime” enhancements, and two counts of state income tax evasion, according to the Franchise Tax Board (FTB).

Benjamin Chaney, 33, pleaded no contest in January. He was employed as a Chief Financial Officer for a family-owned cleaning company based in Davis, specializing in model home cleaning. Chaney embezzled nearly $500,000 from his employer between 2003 and 2007. He charged personal expenses to his employer’s credit card and altered the company’s accounts payables to cover the fraud. Chaney made unauthorized purchases for personal items, including gifts, child–support payments, computers, and mortgage payments.

Chaney filed false personal income tax returns for 2006, 2007 and failed to claim more than $500,000 in embezzlement income. All income is taxable including income from illegal sources.

Chaney was also ordered to pay restitution of more than $340,000 to his former employer and more than $67,000 to the State representing the unpaid tax, penalties, interest, and the cost of the investigation.

Yolo County Superior Court Judge Stephen L. Mock handed down the sentence in Department 3 of the Yolo County Superior Court.

The case was prosecuted by Yolo County Deputy District Attorney Ryan Couzens. It was also a joint investigation with the Franchise Tax Board (FTB) Criminal Investigation Unit.

FTB’s criminal investigation program identifies and investigates cases of tax evasion and tax fraud to encourage compliance with California income tax laws and maintain the public trust.

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