FLAGLER COUNTY, Fla. – A Flagler County tax business owner is under investigation for allegedly defrauding dozens of his clients, according to the sheriff’s office.
Investigators with the IRS, Flagler and Volusia counties executed a search warrant at Flagler Tax Service on Sept. 3. following an investigation that began Aug. 30, according to a news release.
Robert “Bob” Newsholme, 66, is accused of grand theft, organizing a scheme to defraud and embezzlement, investigators say. He shot himself in the stomach on Aug. 24 in what detectives believe may have been an attempted suicide. Authorities did not provide information on his current condition.
According to the sheriff’s office, 73 people have come forward to report they had allegedly been defrauded by Newsholme.
On Sept. 3, law enforcement seized multiple computers, files and other possible evidence “linked to numerous incidents of a massive organized scheme to defraud clients,” the news release said.
Newsholme is not a certified public accountant, however, most of his clients believed that he was a CPA.
According to the sheriff’s office, more than $189,000 of funds are missing from his clients.
Sheriff Rick Staly said investigators believe Newsholme worked alone.
“At this time, we have no indication that any other Flagler Tax Service employees took part in or had knowledge of any illegal activity,” Staly said in a news release. “Thousands of documents and forensic material are being analyzed as the investigation continues. It’s unfortunate that someone who was trusted in the community would take advantage of so many people that trusted him. Our investigators will not rest until the victims are identified and the suspect is held accountable for his actions.
Anyone who believes they may have been a victim is asked to call the sheriff’s office at 386-313-4911. Victims may have been notified by the IRS and should have their case number available.