Steve Harvey is one of the great entertainers of our time, and this is the story of how he got scammed out of millions of dollars.
This story has to do with taxes. I thought it would be a good video to make because it is tax time, and a lot of you are working on your taxes right now. Steve Harvey got into some trouble with his taxes and it is heartbreaking.
Steve Harvey’s accountant was stealing money from him. How the scam worked is the accountant would fill out Steve’s tax forms. Steve is a business owner, so it is not like money gets taken out of your check to pay your taxes. He has to send everything into the IRS for his payments. So, Steve would write a check for the amount of money he owed the IRS. The accountant would then deduct the same amount of money from Steve Harvey’s accounts and never mail in the check. This went on for seven years.
This was all discovered when the accountant died. They went into clean up his office and found all of Steve Harvey’s unmailed tax forms on the floor in the accountant’s office.
The first takeaway from this story is to understand that this is tax evasion. Even though this was a horrible situation, Steve Harvey did not know about it, and it was not his fault, the IRS does not care. It is still tax evasion and if you cannot pay it off, you can go to jail. Tax evasion is one of the few crimes in the US where you do not have to know that you are committing the crime to still go to jail.
The total amount that was due to the IRS with interest and fees was $22M. When Steve contacted the IRS, they put him on a repayment plan. He had to pay 650k per month in back taxes not including his current taxes and if he ever missed a payment, he would go to jail.
To give you some context, Steve Harvey is a big entertainer. Typically, entertainers pay roughly 50% of their income in state and local taxes each year. This accountant was stealing half of Steve’s income. Going forward, Steve would have to pay his usual 50% in taxes, plus the back taxes for seven years. So he needed to pay a lot more than 100% of his income in taxes each year to make things right.
This was an impossible situation. In one of the most heroic financial achievements I have heard, he did it. He went to work. He worked every comedy job he could find for years, and he never missed a payment, and paid off the debt. Incredible.
The next takeaway in this story is that some people are evil. I cannot think of any other way to describe this accountant. It is one thing to steal someone’s money, but to steal it in a way that will send them to prison, is a whole other level of disgusting. I cannot even imagine the thought process someone would go through to rationalize those actions. But someone did. You need to not be naïve and realize that there are evil people out there in the world.
So, what do you do about it? I recommend an approach of trust but verify. You cannot operate a business if you are suspicious about everyone who works for you. But you can set up your business in ways were you can verify as much as possible. In this situation, Steve Harvey did check his bank accounts. He saw the amounts being deducted, but he did not verify whether the checks were cashed. If he verified the checks, he would have realized the money was going someplace else. Putting safeguards in place, can help you catch errors and fraud.
The final takeaway is do not mess with the IRS. Even a simple mistake like your check getting lost in the mail can land you in trouble. Whether it is your fault or not, it is still your responsibility to pay your taxes. Take the extra effort and time to make sure you are doing it right.
Steve Harvey Interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vDXuLP6InPw
Truth Social: https://truthsocial.com/@FinanceWolves
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Neither Zach De Gregorio or Wolves and Finance shall be liable for any damages related to information in this video. It is recommended you contact a CPA in your area for business advice.