The 65-year-old owner of a payroll firm, previously accused of stealing from businesses in Haverhill and Danvers, was charged in federal court and agreed to plead guilty to defrauding clients by diverting money set aside by her clients for payroll taxes.
Patricia Lindau, of Newburg, Maine, who operated Northeast Abacus of Newburyport until recently, was charged and has agreed to plead guilty to one count of wire fraud and one count of tax evasion. According to the plea agreement filed Monday, the government will recommend a sentence of incarceration at the low end of the guidelines sentencing range, one year of supervised release and restitution of $1,393,430. A plea hearing has not yet been scheduled.
Lindau was previously charged on the state level by District Attorney Jonathan W. Blodgett, whose office reported complaints last summer from two unnamed, small businesses—in Haverhill and Danvers. In those cases, which remain pending in state court, Lindau was accused of stealing an estimated $60,300 from them when she failed to pay their state taxes. She was charged with two counts larceny and two counts of embezzlement by tax preparer.
U.S. Attorney Andrew E. Lelling’s office said between 2017 and the spring of 2020, Lindau failed to pay over to the Internal Revenue Service and Massachusetts Department of Revenue the payroll taxes she withdrew from her clients’ bank accounts. Lindau used her access to her clients’ accounts to transfer money that was to be used to satisfy her clients’ payroll tax liabilities into her firm’s business checking account. Lindau then sent each client a weekly report falsely indicating that the funds had been paid to the IRS and Mass. DOR.
When Lindau’s clients received letters from the IRS and Mass. DOR indicating that their payroll taxes had not been paid, Lindau lied to the clients and falsely told them that the or Mass. DOR letters were a mistake and that she would take care of it. In some instances, she then paid the taxes late.
Lindau’s scheme continued into the first quarter of 2020 when most of her clients closed due to COVID-19 and then discovered their employees’ payroll taxes had not been and were not being paid.
In total, Lindau failed to pay more than $2 million when due and caused a net loss to her clients of more than $1.1 million.