July 29, 2022
Fraud Friday – Guilty in $25 Million IRS and PPP Fraud with 9 Professional Athletes
From April 2020 through December 2021, Seir Havana along with his co-conspirators used the company Mana Tax to apply for PPP loans on behalf of small businesses, shell companies, and business entities controlled by others. With his conspirators, he inflated the number of employees and payroll costs on the loan applications and provided fabricated tax returns. The press release claims that some businesses never even saw their application before submission, and others were not eligible for PPP loans.
As they processed the applications, Mana Tax charged a 30% fee of the loan value. To conceal this, Havana and others directed businesses to pay the fee through cashier’s checks and falsely note on the memo that it is for payroll. The government seized $11.8 million from bank accounts containing PPP loan proceeds during the investigation.
Preceding the crimes against the SBA, Seir Havana was involved in a tax fraud scheme in connection with at least nine professional athletes. While serving as the Vice President/Director and CEO of Mana Tax Services, he prepared and filed false and fraudulent tax returns to the IRS. The tax returns generated refunds through fabricated businesses and personal losses. He and his co-conspirator convinced the athletes to work with them by boasting of their ability to obtain large refunds and amend prior year tax returns to “correct purported errors”.
Similar to the PPP fraud scheme, Mana Tax charged the athletes a 30% fee from the resulting refund. Havana instructed the athletes to send fees to shell entities he controlled. He gained $3.1 million in fees.
During the investigation, Havana surrendered cashier’s checks worth $5.6 million from the tax fraud and PPP fraud fees. The Department of Justice said the two schemes had losses larger than $25 million.
Seir Havana is scheduled to be sentenced on November 9. Quin Rudin, one of the conspirators, pleaded guilty to various conspiracy and fraud charges, and his sentencing is scheduled for September 14.
DOJ Press Release