Man who bilked IRS arraigned on more charges

May 21, 1999|By DAVE McMILLION

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Former Martinsburg accountant Michael L. Welshans, who is serving a seven-year prison sentence for bilking the Internal Revenue Service, the state and 35 clients of more than $1.6 million, was arraigned on 57 more charges Friday in Berkeley County Circuit Court, according to Prosecuting Attorney Pamela Games-Neely.

The charges had been filed against Welshans in three Berkeley County indictments, but Welshans never was arraigned on them after the federal case was brought against him, Games-Neely said.

Games-Neely's office filed a writ requiring Welshans to be brought to Martinsburg to be arraigned on the 57 charges, which include embezzlement and filing false state personal income tax returns, according to court records.

It is not clear what the maximum punishment is for the charges.

Welshans was brought to Berkeley County Thursday evening from a federal prison in Loretto, Pa., for the arraignment, Games-Neely said.

He pleaded not guilty Friday. An Aug. 25 trial date before Circuit Judge Christopher Wilkes has been set.


In the federal case, Welshans was ordered in 1995 to serve seven years and three months

That term was to run concurrently with a federal sentence of six years and nine months he was given in 1994 for robbing two Maryland banks at gunpoint in the summer of 1993.

More than $863,000 was embezzled from the 35 clients between 1989 and 1992, court records said. Welshans' clients' income tax returns were falsified and the money they gave him to pay their taxes was diverted, court records said.

Welshans pleaded guilty to two of the 35 individual cases at a 1995 hearing. At the same time, he pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud and two of tax evasion.

The U.S. attorney's office recommended leniency because Welshans was cooperative and readily agreed to pay more than $840,000 in restitution to the victims.

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