Owner of 3 Virginia Beach businesses pleads guilty to $2.7M tax fraud

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Posted at 4:28 PM, May 05, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-05 16:28:55-04

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - A Virginia Beach woman pleaded guilty to failing to pay payroll taxes from her three companies to the Internal Revenue Service, resulting in a loss of around $2.7 million to the IRS.

According to court documents, 53-year-old Wendy Brockenbrough failed to pay payroll taxes from at least 2011 to 2019. Brockenbrough is the majority owner of East West Construction, Inc., Sea Trader Marine, LLC and Coastal Pipeline Services, LLC.

As the three companies' principal owner, Brockenbrough was responsible for withholding the required employment taxes and paying that amount over to the IRS.

She also allegedly failed to file quarterly federal tax returns for each of her three businesses.

Brockenbrough issued her employees weekly paystubs and annual Form W-2s indicating that the appropriate payroll taxes were being withheld from her employees' paychecks. She used the withheld taxes to support her lifestyle; court documents say some of the things Brockenbrough purchased included a Regulator center console boat for approximately $126,000, a Hatteras 60-foot yacht for approximately $820,000 and a Jeep Wrangler for approximately $41,000.

Brockenbrough attempted to conceal her actions by lying to her accountants and stating that she made the payments. To support her claims, she forged IRS records and Quickbook entries showing the taxes had been paid.

Her actions caused an approximate $2,721,268 loss in unpaid payroll taxes to the IRS.

Brockenbrough faces a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison when she is sentenced on September 8.

Her attorney, James Broccoletti, released the following statement on Brockenbrough's guilty plea:

"Mrs. Brockenbrough immediately accepted responsibility for her actions and has demonstrated exceptional remorse for her actions. She has pled guilty quickly and has paid back already close to half of the unpaid taxes as evidence of that. She is committed to making the government whole."