Accountant, sentenced for defrauding clients, must pay restitution

March 20, 1998|By Michael James | Michael James,SUN STAFF

A Rockville accountant was sentenced to two years in prison yesterday for defrauding clients by diverting their money into a high-risk company in which he held a stake, federal prosecutors said.

Thomas E. Karam, 51, the managing partner of the Berlin, Karam and Ramos accounting firm, was also ordered to pay $775,000 in restitution to the three clients, prosecutors said. Karam was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt by Judge Alexander Williams.

Karam pleaded guilty last fall to secretly transferring millions of dollars into an account controlled by him, prosecutors said. He used a portion of the money for himself, and the rest he put into a company called Tyra Cosmetics, in which he held a substantial stake, prosecutors said.

The clients he defrauded were Fairfax Anesthesiology Associates, a Northern Virginia partnership of physicians; Joseph Finizio, a Maryland radiologist; and the Radiology Employees Pension and Profit Sharing Plan, made up of a group of Silver Spring radiologists.

Prosecutors said Karam was able to conceal the scheme for several years by moving money from one client account to another.

The scheme unraveled in late 1992 after he failed to pay substantial payroll taxes for the Virginia doctors, thereby prompting the Internal Revenue Service and the FBI to begin an investigation, prosecutors said.

As part of his guilty plea, Karam also agreed to relinquish his license as a certified public accountant, prosecutors said.

Pub Date: 3/20/98

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