A sign outside Flagler Tax Services at the Bunnell Business Center indicates that the property was just sold. The phone number to Flagler Tax Services, the business long owned by Bob Newsholme, goes directly to voice mail. And today, the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office announced that it had turned over its investigation of Newsholme’s operation on numerous allegations of tax raid to the Internal Revenue Service.
The cases against Newshomle began emerging soon after he attempted to end his life with a gunshot wound to the chest. The details surrounding the shooting are as peculiar as those surrounding the allegations of fraud: though he was in his bedroom for eight hours after shooting himself, and both his wife and son checked on him during the day, he did not reveal to them that he had shot himself for 10 hours. He was eventually taken to a hospital with a severe injury but was expected to make a full recovery, according to authorities.
Soon after the shooting, the Sheriff’s Office began receiving complaints from clients of Newsholme’s. By the time the agency turned the case over to the IRS, it had logged some 100 complaints, each added to the investigation the sheriff’s detectives launched. A pattern emerged. Newsholme, who ran the business with his wife, Linda Newsholme, would work on clients’ taxes, require the clients to give him the checks of money owed the IRS, and allegedly not forward the checks to the government. He created dozens of shell companies in other people’s names, and somehow used the companies as part of his operation. He convinced innumerable people to trust him with their money–in the aggregate so far, about $189,871 that was owed the IRS, and that has allegedly gone missing, or not made it to the government, or an average of $8,500 per case.
It was clear not long into the investigation, as cases kept piling up, that the case would overwhelm a local law enforcement agency not equipped to handle intricate tax-fraud cases that even now may only be scratching the surface of the alleged schemes, so it is likely a relief that the IRS has taken over. The federal agency does not confirm or deny whether it is investigating anyone. But Flagler County Sheriff Rick Staly today left no doubt.
“Detectives of our General Assignment Unit have been busy investigating over 100 cases,” he was quoted as saying in a release. “They’ve analyzed thousands of documents and conducted upwards of 85 interviews with potential victims. Our federal partners have decided to adopt this investigation. The federal court system is more likely to hold this offender accountable for stealing from clients and in the federal system you serve 100% of your sentence. If you have not filed a complaint and believe you may be a victim please file a report with the IRS.”
A sheriff’s spokesperson said there was no “official form about the case being transferred from the FCSO to federal authorities.
Newsholme, local investigations revealed, left his clients under the impression that he was a certified public accountant (CPA), though investigators could find no evidence that he was. “The allegations against Newsholme currently include Grand Theft, Organized Scheme to Defraud, and Embezzlement,” the release states. “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.”
Newsholme himself was not interviewed by detectives, though he is almost certain to be interviewed by the IRS. The status of Newsholme’s business isn’t clear.
A sign outside the business says the property was sold. The sale is confirmed in court records: a deed was recorded on Oct. 4, covering both parcels and the entire Bunnell Business Center (which includes temporary administrative and customer service offices of the City of Bunnell). The property sold for $1.5 million. Newsholme bought it in 2018 for $700,000. The purchaser is Trailco Group of Hastings, a company that repairs trailers, containers and chassis.
Kim Sunshine of Florida Coastal Properties, the listed agent, did not return a text inquiring about the sale (Sunshine’s voice mailbox was full).
The Sheriff’s Office urges residents who may be a victim or know someone that may be a victim and who have not already filed a report with the sheriff to contact the IRS Criminal Investigation Tampa Field Office at [email protected] or call 904-661-3413. If you have already filed a report with the Sheriff’s Office you do not need to call IRS Criminal Investigations.
Those who may have been defrauded will not be off the hook for what they owe the government: whether the IRS prosecutes Newsholme or not is a matter for the IRS’s investigative division, separate from its tax division, which will continue to pursue taxpayers for money owed.
- Number of Potential Victims Up to 57 in Bob Newsholme Tax Fraud Case as Slew of Schemes Involving Big Sums Emerge
- Bob Newsholme, In Apparent Attempted Suicide 2 Weeks Ago, Investigated for Fraud in Tax Business
- Bob Newsholme of Flagler Tax Service Shoots Himself in the Chest, and Tells His Son 10 Hours Later
- After A Fraud: A Tax Accountant Explains What To Do If You’re a Victim of an Unscrupulous Tax Preparer