The evening of August 24, Flagler County Sheriff’s deputies and paramedics responded to Robert “Bob” Newsholme’s house at 2 Lee Place in Palm Coast for what turned out to be a bizarre case of what looked like Newsholme’s attempted, and dissimulated, suicide: according to what he told deputies and his family, he’d taken to bed that morning, shot himself in the chest, and hid the fact from his son until 12 hours later, when he was transported to Halifax hospital in Daytona Beach. He also feared he had Covid.
Days before the gunshot wound, FlaglerLive had learned of allegations of fraud about Newsholme’s business, the well-known Flagler Tax Services in Bunnell–allegations that found echoes again and again in readers who had claimed to have been defrauded over the years. On Aug. 25, the day the shooting was reported, people started contacting the Sheriff’s Office as well to claim they’d been defrauded by Newsholme.
Among the facts the Sheriff’s Office uncovered: unlike the way he portrayed himself to his clients, Newsholme, 66, is not a CPA, a Certified Public Accountant.
On Friday, Sheriff’s deputies and detectives, along with agents of the Internal Revenue Service and the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office, served a search warrant on Newsholme’s business, the well-known Flagler Tax Services at 608 E Moody Boulevard. Newsholme opened the business in 2010.
“The allegations against Newsholme currently include Grand Theft, Organized Scheme to Defraud, and Embezzlement,” the Sheriff’s Office reported this morning. “He has a criminal history dating back to the late 1970s in New York for Grand Larceny, Petit Larceny, Issuing Bad Checks with Knowledge, Forgery, and Scheme to Defraud, with the most recent charge for Defraud in 2004.” He’d been arrested locally in 2004 on a New York warrant for grand larceny and scheme to defraud.
The Sheriff’s Office so far has opened 12 active investigations of fraud against Newsholme.
“At this time, we have no indication that any other Flagler Tax Service employees took part in or had knowledge of any illegal activity,” Sheriff Rick Staly said. “Thousands of documents and forensic material are being analyzed as the investigation continues. It’s unfortunate that someone who was trusted in the community would take advantage of so many people that trusted him. Our investigators will not rest until the victims are identified and the suspect is held accountable for his actions.”
The Sheriff’s Office is asking residents who think they may have been a victim of fraud through Flagler Tax Services, or who have received a late notice from the IRS as a result of filing through Newsholme’s services, to contact the agency at 386-313-4911 and file a report. Potential victims also need to contact the IRS with their case number at 800-829-1040 (Individuals) or 800-829-4933 (Businesses). “We also urge residents who may not be known victims of fraud but may have had their tax information seized during the investigation of Flagler Tax Services to contact the IRS,” the agency said in a release this morning.
[This is a developing story]