PORTLAND, Ore.—The former owner and general manager of dump truck hauling and concrete companies based in Damascus, Oregon, was sentenced to federal prison today for willfully failing to pay employment taxes despite withholding them from employee paychecks.
Rebekah Joy Williams, 44, a resident of Damascus, was sentenced to eight months in federal prison and three years’ supervised release. She was also ordered to pay $725,492 in restitution to the IRS.
According to court documents, until the third and fourth quarters of 2017, Williams owned and operated Anbasa Transport LLC and Kelaye Conrete LLC, commercial dump truck hauling and concrete companies registered in Oregon that formerly operated in both Oregon and Washington State. As the sole owner and general manager of both companies, Williams was responsible for collecting, reporting, and paying federal income, Medicare, and Social Security taxes (also known as FICA taxes) on behalf of her employees.
Over at least a three-year period, from 2015-2017, Williams withheld these taxes from her employees’ paychecks and provided them with paystubs reflecting the withholdings. Despite doing so, IRS records showed that Williams made no payroll tax payments on behalf of either company from the third quarter of 2015 through the fourth quarter of 2017. In total, Williams failed to pay approximately $112,257 in employment taxes to the IRS.
In 2016, Williams hired an accountant to address her employment tax issues, but hid documentation the accountant needed to complete and file required payroll tax returns. Williams further lied to the accountant, claiming her companies’ payroll records had been damaged when a neighboring business caught fire. The accountant later told investigators that Williams was financially savvy and aware of her responsibility to pay payroll taxes.
Williams opened accounts at several different banks to hide her business proceeds from the IRS. Shortly after meeting with an IRS Revenue Officer in 2015, Williams began churning bank accounts, opening and closing accounts every 12 to 18 months. Meanwhile, Williams spent lavishly from both her personal and business bank accounts. She spent the payroll taxes withheld from her employees to fund vacations, pay her children’s private school tuition, attend professional sporting events, and fund an upscale lifestyle.
On October 19, 2021, a federal grand jury in Portland returned a 19-count indictment charging Williams with willfully failing to collect or pay over employment taxes. On November 14, 2022, she pleaded guilty.
This case was investigated by IRS-Criminal Investigation. It was prosecuted by Claire M. Fay, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon.