Business manager

Puyallup entrepreneur indicted for tax evasion

PUYALLUP, WA — The co-owner and chief financial officer of a Puyallup steel manufacturing company has been indicted, accused of stealing more than $1 million in payroll taxes.

Donna Powell, 56, co-owns and operates Pinnacle Steel Fabricators, a local company that produces several steel parts. But between 2010 and 2018, Powell, who also serves as the company’s secretary, treasurer and chief accounting officer, withheld $1,167,891 in payroll taxes from employees’ paychecks but pocketed the money without paying it to the company. IRS – according to a recent Department of Justice filing.

“During the period Powell failed to pay the taxes it withheld from employees, Pinnacle generally had sufficient funds to make the required tax payments,” the indictment states. “Furthermore, during this period, Powell and her husband spent thousands of dollars for their personal benefit.”

According to court documents, Powell and her husband splurged, spending at least $32,000 traveling to Europe, Jamaica and Mexico City, $41,000 gambling in casinos, $33,000 and more on online games and $7,400 more for spa days and pool purchases.

“Non-payment of taxes ultimately hurts employees whose compensation records are incomplete for Social Security, Medicare and unemployment benefits,” the Justice Department said in a press release. . “Employees can report concerns about federal withholding to the IRS and records can be corrected with documentation.”

Powell was charged Thursday with nine counts of failing to pay employment taxes. A “deliberate failure” to pay employment taxes can be punished by up to five years behind bars.

Powell’s will be arraigned on Valentine’s Day in the US District Court in Tacoma.