Equal justice before the Law
Reporting from SeminoleWatch.com.
There are a few things in our lives that are so disgusting that it crosses all races, ages and both sexes. Most disgusting is the use of our children for profit and personal gain. In the following pages SeminoleWatch.com will provide proof that one Deputy of the Seminole County Sheriff’s Department has used his position within his office and his position as corporate officer of a “Not for Profit Corporation” to knowingly and willfully engage in a conspiracy to violate numerous State and Federal laws as a result of the misclassification of employees by classifying these employees as “Independent Contractors”.
We are raised to believe that there is “Equal justice before the Law”. What we have discovered is that this may be a noble concept. However, it has no place in reality within the limits of Seminole County Florida under the control of Sheriff Donald Francis Eslinger. As this story developed we discovered that there is a segment within our society that is permitted to commit Felonies in violation of both State and Federal law.
The segment of our society of which we are speaking centers around one Seminole County Deputy Sheriff and one Certified Public accountant and their control over a yearly budget of over $500,000.00 for a Not For Profit Corporation operating under the name of “SEMINOLE COUNTY POLICE ATHLETIC LEAGUE”, (SCPAL). (1)
Having obtained this “Charities” 2010 Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax Form 990 it was revealed that the total Contributions and Grants for 2010 was reported at $522,920.00 and in 2009 it received $562,672.00. (2). Corporate records have identified the following individuals as officers of this “Charity”.
- DWAYNE JOHNSON, (Sergeant Seminole County Sheriff’s Office) REGISTERED AGENT, MANAGING DIRECTOR, TREASURER
- BARRY SMITH, (Lieutenant SCSO), PRESIDENT
- KIRBY MULLINS, VICE PRESIDENT
- STUART WALTHERS, (Deputy SCSO), SECRETARY
Do not let the name of this “charity” fool you. It has nothing to do with any governmental agency other than it acquires the majority of its funding from public entities. It is not a function of Seminole County Government even though the Corporation operates out of an office of the Seminole County Sheriff’s Department located at 1151 E. 28th Street, Sanford Florida. (3)
And just what laws have we discovered that may have been violated by one of these corporate officers. Well here are a few that we have been able to discover as being business owners subject to these very same laws:
FEDERAL LAWS: (4)
- Title 26 United States Code (USC) Sec. 7201, Attempt to evade or defeat tax.
- Title 26 USC Sec. 7202, Willful failure to collect or pay over tax.
- Title 26 USC Sec. 7203, Willful failure to file return, supply information, or pay tax.
- Title 26 USC Sec. 7206(1), Fraud and False statements.
- Title 26 USC Sec. 7206(2), Fraud and False statements.
- Title 18 USC Sec. 371, Conspiracy to commit offense or to defraud the United States.
FLORIDA STATE STATUTES:
- Florida State Statute (FSS) Chapter 440 Workers Compensation (5)
- FSS Chapter 443 Unemployment Compensation (6)
This story developed by accident. During a telephone conversation it was revealed that a child who had worked last summer (2011) at the Seminole County PAL (SCPAL) Camp had been issued an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Form 1099 as an Independent Contractor for the wages that this child had received. Before this story progresses SeminoleWatch.com will NOT identify the child nor the parent that brought this matter to our attention. Having heard this statement bells and whistles started going off and whatever the conversation had been quickly turned on to wanting more information about this SCPAL Camp. (7)
It was revealed that each summer for approximately 8 to 9 weeks there was a program operated by the SCPAL in which “Camp Counselors” were hired to assist with other children attending the program. Now these “Camp Counselors” were identified to be mainly off duty SCSO Deputy Sheriff’s and several of their own children. The person operating this SCPAL Camp was identified as Sgt. Dwayne Johnson. Now the “Camp Counselors” were more or less glorified baby sitters. Now here is the sweet part of this scam. Off-duty deputies and several with children for 8 to 9 weeks were each paid to spend time together and go to various entertainment establishments in Central Florida.(8) This alone does not appear criminal, maybe just a little unethical. Vacation with your kid and get paid for it out of the Bank Account of a Charity. I guess there were not enough unemployed honest people in Seminole County that needed a job which paid at $15.00 per hour.
So where is the crime? From the facts and statements obtained this scam was devised by Sgt. Dwayne Johnson with the assistance of the SCPAL accountant Steve Rotroff to classify the “Camp Counselors” as Independent Contractors and not employees of SCPAL. It is reported that one of these children had questioned why they were being called “Independent Contractors” and was advised that it was done in order for them (the Camp Counselors) to make more money. Now each of us running our own businesses recognizes this logic. It is called GREED! It gets worse, but we will save that part of the story for later.
Due to the serious nature of the information presented the assistance of a licensed Certified Public Accountant was obtained. The scenario was presented and the CPA confirmed that the children and the adults were in no way Independent Contractors but were employees of the Not For Profit. SeminoleWatch.com was directed to the IRS Web site to a “Independent Contractor Checklist”. (9) Having obtained this Checklist and comparing the scenario as presented by the parent, it was obvious that the SCPAL had misclassified the employees.
In an attempt to become more informed of the structure of the PAL Camp system contact was made with several PAL programs operating within Florida. Upon explaining the structure of the SCPAL Camp we were greeted with total amazement and confusion. No other program treated the counselors as Independent contractors and if any of the children were paid they were given a few dollars each week as a stipend. Due to the relationship of SeminoleWatch.com and the SCSO, a request was made, from one of the Directors, for them to contact Sgt. Johnson in order to correct this practice. It is unknown if this request was honored.
Having obtained the aforementioned information a phone call was made to the parent who had advised of this problem. The parent was advised of the information obtained and it was suggested that contact be made with Sgt. Johnson first in order to get the proper tax form (W-2) in order that the 2011 Income Tax return be filed. It was suggested that the parent contact the IRS directly for assistance and to utilize the Chain of Command within the SCSO should the matter not be corrected.
The parent then contacted the IRS and was informed by “CORY” (I.D. # 1000843127) and “KOCEVAR” (I.D. # 1000270513) that the 1099′s are not legal for minors or people who were camp counselors and if they were sub contractors they would have to have personal liability insurance and be required to pay FICA and all the other required elements to be self-employed.
On February 29, 2012, this parent requested the assistance of the SCPAL CPA, Steve Rotroff. The nature of the request was to understand why the child had been issued a 1099 as a independent contractor instead of a W-2 as an employee.(10)
On March 1, 2012, the parent received an email form Sgt. Johnson advising the following: (11)
“______ income is below the $5700 income threshold, therefore _____ does not need to be listed as earning income. Everyone that earns more than $600 is issued a 1099. You get the $1000 tax credit for ______.”
“_____ can be an independent contractor. ______ does need to file a 1040 with a schedule C-EZ and pay the self employment tax. ______ does not claim ______, which allows you to still claim ______. It should be around $200 or less”
Not being convinced with the information obtained from Sgt. Johnson the parent began using the Chain of Command within the Seminole County Sheriff’s Department in order to get help with the problem. Assistance was requested of Captain SCOTT BALLOU, (Sgt. Johnsons immediate supervisor), Captain DENNIS LEMMA, as well as Sheriff DONALD FRANCIS ESLINGER by the parent. (12) Neither help, assistance , direction, or guidance was obtained from any of these public servants.
The parent was finally able to make contact with the CPA Steve Rotroff who verified that he had issued the 1099 to the child. During this telephone conversation the parent took notes and detailed that Mr. Rotroff agreed that the child was not a subcontractor and that he never really researched the issue and went by what Sgt. Johnson was telling him. Upon informing Rotroff what the IRS had told the parent, Rotroff said:
“I guess we are all in trouble.” Rotroff went on to say:
“Typically the IRS would never pick up on PAL and it would be unusual for them to do unless someone complained”.
Rotroff went on to explain that there was a three year statute of limitations that PAL could be penalized on, so the IRS won’t go back all the years that Sgt. Johnson has been doing it.
On June 24, 2012, after having been advised by the parent of the lack of assistance from Sgt. Johnson, Capt. Ballou, Capt. Lemma and Sheriff Esllinger, SeminoleWatch.com offered our assistance. We requested permission to contact the only corporate officer for the SCPAL who was not a SCSO Deputy Sheriff, Mr. Kirby Mullins, (Vice President) on the behalf of the parent. Upon permission having been obtained a phone call was placed to Mr. Mullins. The situation was explained to Mr. Mullins and that the parent wanted the correct Income tax form sent in order for their 2011 Tax return to be completed. Mr. Mullins was advised that the parent had already submitted an extension and simply wanted the W-2 to send in with the return. It was made clear to Mr. Mullins that the parent wanted the tax paperwork and not SeminoleWatch.com. Mr. Mullins advised that he would look into the matter.
Within thirty minutes of the phone conversation with Mr. Mullins a series of emails began between Sgt. Johnson and the parent. After four months of no help from anyone and within four hours of this call to Mr. Mullins this parent received an answer. Sgt. Johnson responded to the parent stating: (14)
“This is my last email about this!”
“Jeff asked about a W-2 or a W-4 for_____. The same questions you have been asking everyone. He should not be asking questions about ________.”
“________ did fill out a W-4, W-9, and an I-9 today, along with _________ contract. I will forward you copies tomorrow.”
“Seminole County PAL has entered into an agreement with the IRS regarding the classifications of the Camp workers. Per the agreement, Camp workers will continue to receive 1099’s for services performed through June 30th 2012. Effective July 1, 2012, all camp workers will be employees of PAL.”
“You have _____ 1099 for 2011. That is all ______ will get. _______ will not be getting a W2 for 2011 as _______ was not classified as an employee. For 2012, ______ will be classified as a sub-contractor (1099), and an employee (W2), and will receive those documents next year,”
“Your questions have been answered.”
Sgt. Johnson’s statement is an understatement to say the least. From this one email, Sgt. Johnson admits that what he has done since he first became the “MD” of the SCPAL in 2003 was illegal. If it were not for the education level of Sgt. Johnson and his position one might give him the benefit of doubt that he did not know or was ignorant of the law. But then we have the statement of the child and the GREED issue, not to mention Sgt. Johnson’s profession as a Law Enforcement officer and his college degree. And let us not forget that ignorance of the law is no excuse. If you do not believe our opinion on this, try telling any Judge that you were ignorant of the law and see how far that defense gets you.
Having been provided the information that an “Agreement” had been entered into with the IRS, additional information was requested from our professional CPA. We were advised that due to the numerous violations of the Federal tax laws, since 2003, it was possible that the IRS was permitting the SCPAL to classify the Camp Counselors until June 30, 2012 as Independent Contractors and then be reclassified as employees effective July 1, 2012. An article written by Keith A. Markel and Lawren H. Briscoe dated February 16, 2012 in the NEW YORK LAW JOURNAL , titled “Employee Misclassification: A Current State of Affairs” explained a recently announced program (Voluntary Classification Settlement Program) to encourage employers who have misclassified workers. (15)
In the Spirit of Fairness, SeminoleWatch.com forwarded a request to the Executive Director/MD/Treasurer Dwayne Johnson on June 19, 2012 requesting his side of the story.(16) After not receiving a reply from Mr. Johnson on June 23, 2012 a request was submitted to the President of SCPAL, Mr. Barry Smith. In this correspondence which was forwarded directly to Mr. Johnson was a request to obtain copies of certain financial records of the Not for Profit Corporation. (16)
Specifically we were requesting the following:
- Copy of Check register/bank statements.
- Copy of IRS Agreement.
- Copy of Independent Contractor Agreement.
As of the date of the posting of this article the requested documents have not been received.
Based on the information provided, we believe that Sgt. Johnson willfully and knowingly misclassified employees as independent contractors for the most common reason, MONEY. Extra money in the pockets of the children and adult counselors and more money in the pocket of his not for profit corporation. As a result of the crimes committed by Sgt. Johnson and others, Federal and State laws were violated and taxes owed to Federal and State agencies were neither collected nor remitted to the proper authorities. SeminoleWatch.com finds no difference between a thief who steals from a store or a corporate officer who steals money from the Federal and State government with a pen.
As for those Deputy Sheriff’s that worked as Camp Counselors with or without your kids, we trust that you declared this added income on your tax returns. The IRS has a new program in which they can match 1099’s with returns. Should you discover that you may have accidentally filed a false return please take the advice of someone who has done stupid things in the past concerning taxes. Contact the IRS before they contact you, file an amended return, pay the added taxes and penalties and learn from your error. And most of all be humble, polite and respectful, you are not in control. While you may carry a gun and stick, they carry a PEN.
As the saying goes there are two things certain in life, DEATH & TAXES. And if you elect to take a chance and play the odds and not do what is right, we suggest that you always wear white socks and white underwear, they will not let you wear anything else in jail. And keep cash on hand you will need it to buy things from the jail store.
Based on the willful misclassification of employees, Sgt. Johnson failed to remit four quarterly Florida UCT-6 Forms and pay the unemployment taxes on each employee since 2003 as well as filing the Federal quarterly 941 reports and remitting the proper taxes. Sgt. Johnson signed each of the Income Tax returns “Under penalty of perjury”, knowing full well that the information contained in those returns was not “true, correct and complete.” (18)
On several of these fraudulent tax returns signed by “Sgt. Dwayne Johnson” is a statement describing the Not For Profits mission. The statement reads:
“To provide programs to Seminole County youth which teach values and societal requirements. The goal being to keep participants on the right path as youth and as adults.”
SeminoleWatch.com offers our opinion in that Sgt. Dwayne Johnson and each and every person involved in this conspiracy and who participated in the scam to defraud the State and Federal government of taxes should have nothing to do with teaching Seminole County Youth “Values and societal requirements.” The last time that we checked the committing of felonies on a State and Federal level is not something that we should be teaching the youth of Seminole County. (12) But then again these are members of the Seminole County Sheriff’s Department, the agency which has as its leader Sheriff Donald Francis Eslinger, a man who gives new definitions to words each day. First there was the word “ADULTERY”, then he gave us the new meaning of “LIAR” and now we will get a new meaning to the word “THIEF”.
SeminoleWatch.com would like to express our gratitude to the parent of this child who had the courage to come forward in an attempt to expose the criminal actions of the persons identified in this story. We extend our gratitude to Vice President Kirby Mullins who was able to assist this parent when no one else in the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office, to include Sheriff Eslinger, would. To those professional accounts which provided knowledge and assistance in order for this story to be told we extend our gratitude.
In order to protect the identity of individuals several documents were required to be redacted. As this story develops and should investigations by the lawful authorities take place SeminoleWatch.com will update our readers.
As for the honest men and women of the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office, we extend our gratitude for your service. The Citizens of Seminole County recognize that there are but a small percent of your force who tarnish the image of Law Enforcement and who do not deserve our respect and support.
CLICK ON BELOW DOCUMENTS:
- Florida Department of State Division of Corporations.
- 2010 Tax Return Form 990.
- Seminole County Police Athletic League website.
- IRS Related Statutes and Penalties.
- Florida State Statute Chapter 440 WORKERS COMPENSATION.
- Florida State Statute Chapter 443 UNEMPLOYMENT COMPESATION.
- SCPAL Summer Camp.
- SCPAL Day Camp Rates/July & August 2012 Calendar.
- INDEPENDENT CONTRACTOR CHECKLIST.
- February 29, 2012 email to Steve Rotroff.
- March 1, 2012 email to/from Dwayne Johnson.
- Emails to Capt. Ballou, Capt. Lemma and Sheriff Eslinger.
- Statement by parent on conversation with Steven Rotroff.
- June 4, 2012 email to/from Dwayne Johnson.
- New York Law Journal article, “Employee Misclassification: A Current State of Affairs”, Feb.16,2012 by Keith A. Markel and Lawren H. Briscoe
- June 19, 2012 email to Dwayne Johnson from SeminoleWatch.com
- June 23, 2012 email to Barry Smith from SeminoleWatch.com
- Income Tax returns from 2003 to 2010 (Partial only)