The co-owner of a Spokane restaurant faces felony fraud charges for allegedly bilking the state of nearly $250,000 in workers’ compensation payments between 2003 and 2011.
Wanitta Racicot, 69, is accused of claiming in 2001 she suffered on-the-job injuries to both hands rendering her unable to work at her business, the Broadway Bar & Grill, 1811 W. Broadway Ave.
The state Department of Labor & Industries said she received $249,267 in benefits even while she continued to work at the business.
The compensation covered her allegedly lost wages from March 2003 to August 2011, a news release from the department said.
Racicot is expected to enter a plea in Spokane County Superior Court next week.
L&I investigators went to the business in north Spokane and found Racicot carried groceries, scrubbed the bar counter, bused heavy dishes and did other tasks during the time she claimed a disability.
Former Broadway Bar & Grill workers told L&I investigators that Racicot had been working at the restaurant at least five years starting in 2001, the release said.
The charges carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a fine of $20,000. State laws also allow a civil penalty of half the total benefits paid to a person convicted of L&I fraud.
U.S. pact allows Swiss banks to settle potential charges
WASHINGTON – The U.S. government and Switzerland have reached an agreement that could expose Americans who have used Swiss banks to avoid paying taxes.
The agreement will allow Swiss banks to settle any potential U.S. charges if they disclose extensive information about their American clients, the value of their accounts and any help they received from tax professionals.
Those settlements would include penalties for Swiss banks that helped their U.S. customers avoid taxes, according to a senior Justice Department official.
The total penalties could top $1 billion, the official said. The department could also use the information to prosecute Americans for tax evasion.
The official shared details about the agreement during a conference call with reporters Wednesday. But the official did not speak on the record because it won’t be formally announced for a few days.
The agreement could be a big step toward resolving a long-running dispute between the two countries. Swiss banks would be able to turn over customer data without violating that country’s bank secrecy laws. At the same time, those banks could pursue legal settlements with the U.S. Justice Department and avoid criminal prosecution.
Son of early investor in Asia pleads guilty to tax fraud
NEW YORK – The son of a pioneering investor in Asian companies has pleaded guilty in New York to tax fraud charges, joining three siblings who earlier admitted hiding money from their father’s estate in secret Swiss bank accounts.
Prosecutors say Henry Seggerman entered the plea to conspiracy and other charges in federal court in Manhattan. They say the Seggermans hid more than $12 million left to them after their father died in May 2001.
Harry Seggerman died in Fairfield, Conn., at age 73. He was one of the first mutual fund managers to invest in companies in Asia after World War II. He was a vice chairman of Fidelity Investments before retiring in 1992.
Suzanne, Yvonne and Edmund Seggerman had each previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy.