May 6, 2015 / 9:17 PM / 4 years ago

AdvisorHUB founder pleads guilty to federal tax evasion

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Andrew Parish, founder of broker gossip website AdvisorHUB, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to not paying federal employment taxes for his workers at a separate business in 2009, according to court filings.

Parish, 40, faces a maximum of five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000, according to the plea he filed in U.S. District Court in the Southern District of Ohio. He was released on bond and awaits a sentencing date.

Parish did not respond to e-mails and text messages, and his lawyer declined to comment.

The plea stems from an adviser recruiting firm, Axiom Consulting Group, that Parish previously owned.

According to the Internal Revenue Service, Parish issued paychecks to a majority of Axiom’s employees from January to March in 2009 that withheld federal employment taxes that he never turned over to the IRS.

Parish had hired an accounting firm to process payroll for Axiom. But instead of having the accounting firm process the payroll checks, he paid the majority of employees’ payroll checks himself and provided false information about the payroll to the accounting firm, according to a statement from the IRS.

The accountants, who also prepared Axiom’s quarterly federal tax returns, produced an inaccurate federal tax return for that quarter, which Parish never sent to the IRS, the IRS said.

The total amount of taxes the IRS missed out on collecting as a result of receiving the employee tax and it not being included in the quarterly tax return was $341,336.46, which Parish will be required to pay back, according to court documents.

AdvisorHUB has been called the New York Post of financial trade publications, and focuses on wealth managers and brokerages. Reuters reported last year that Parish previously attempted to use his website to sell information about readers to major Wall Street securities brokerages.

Reporting By Elizabeth Dilts, editing by Dan Wilchins and Christian Plumb

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