Four charged with income tax fraud

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An owner of a Greenwood construction company and three other business people allegedly involved in a large mortgage fraud scheme have been charged with income tax fraud following investigations by the Internal Revenue Service.

David W. Pittman of Greenwood faces two counts of income tax evasion, while Susan L. Ruhana, also of Greenwood, and Frederic W. Bauter of Indianapolis are both charged with two counts of filing false income tax returns. In addition, Kelli J. Owens of Franklin is charged with one count of failing to file certain tax forms.

Pittman, 52, who operated Pittman Framing between 1994 and 1998, allegedly failed to file individual income tax forms and owed nearly $500,000 in taxes, penalties and interest as of October 2008. He also is accused of failing to file the same tax forms from 2003 to 2007, and allegedly owes an additional $48,479.

Pittman faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a fine of $500,000.

Charges against Bauter, Ruhana and Owens stem from their alleged involvement in a mortgage fraud scheme in which nine people, including Robert Penn, have been found guilty and sentenced.

Penn, formerly of Indianapolis, was sentenced in January to seven years in prison for his part in a multimillion-dollar scheme in which 136 fraudulent loans, totaling $16.6 million, were obtained by Penn and his numerous businesses.

Ruhana, 44, is charged with two counts of filing false individual income tax returns. As owner of Ace Appraisal Services Inc., she is accused of preparing appraisals for properties involved in the scheme.
In 2004 and 2005, she is alleged to have under-reported her gross income by about $98,000, which translates to $29,000 owed in back taxes, according to the charges.

Ruhana faces a maximum sentence of six years in prison and a $500,000 fine.

Bauter, 71, also is charged with two counts of filing false individual income tax returns. As owner of Bauter Appraisals, he is accused of preparing appraisals for properties involved in the scheme as well.

He allegedly understated his gross income in 2004 and 2005 by $100,000 and owes about $27,000 in income taxes, according to the charges.

Bauter also faces a maximum sentence of six years in prison and a $500,000 fine.

Owens, 32, worked as an office manager and lead closing agent at HMS Title Co., and is charged with one count of failing to file two tax forms.

From 2004 to 2006, she served as closing agent for more than 150 real estate transactions involving mortgage fraud committed by Penn and his companies, according to the charges.

In each of the closings, Owens is accused of failing to submit to the IRS tax forms reflecting the payments disbursed by the title company relating to the transactions.

Owens faces a maximum sentence of one year in prison and a fine of $100,000. She already has pleaded guilty and is set to be sentenced May 6 in federal court in Indianapolis.


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