Flagler County deputies investigating ‘massive organized scheme to defraud’ tax clients

FLAGLER COUNTY, Fla. — Flagler County deputies said they are investigating a dozen cases involved in a “massive organized scheme to defraud” tax clients.

Detectives said they seized multiple computers, files and other evidence potentially linked to Robert “Bob” Newsholme, the owner of Flagler Tax Service. Investigators said numerous people have contacted the department to report that they’d been defrauded by Newsholme.

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The allegations against Newsholme currently include grand theft, organized scheme to defraud, and embezzlement. Deputies said he has not been arrested or charged with any crime at this time.

Deputies said he has a criminal history dating back to the late 1970s in New York for grand larceny, petit larceny, issuing bad checks with knowledge, forgery, and scheme to defraud, with the most recent charge for defrauding in 2004.

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Investigators said he is not a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) like most of his clients believed he was, and that the current cases being investigated against him total $189,871 in missing funds.

Deputies said that at this time, they don’t believe any other Flagler Tax Service employees took part in or knew about the alleged illegal activity.

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“Thousands of documents and forensic material are being analyzed as the investigation continues,” Sheriff Rick Staly said in a statement. “It’s unfortunate that someone who was trusted in the community would take advantage of so many people that trusted him.”

FCSO is asking any person or business whose taxes have been prepared by Flagler Tax Service and has received a notice from the IRS of late filings, or anyone who believes they may be a victim, to contact the FCSO to make a formal report at 386-313-4911.

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Upon filing a report with FCSO, deputies said these people need to contact the IRS with their case number at 800- 829-1040 for individuals or 800-829-4933 for businesses.

Deputies are also urging residents who may not be known victims of fraud but may have had their tax information seized during the investigation of Flagler Tax Services, to contact the IRS.

Investigators said Newsholme shot himself in the stomach on Aug. 24, which may have been a possible suicide attempt, and this was being investigated by the FCSO.

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Sarah Wilson

Sarah Wilson, WFTV.com

Sarah Wilson joined WFTV Channel 9 in 2018 as a digital producer after working as an award-winning newspaper reporter for nearly a decade in various communities across Central Florida.