Flagler Tax Service, a local business based out of Bunnell, is currently under investigation by the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office for allegations including fraud, theft, and embezzlement. A search warrant was executed on September 3rd of the business by the FCSO, along with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and Volusia County Sheriff’s Office (VCSO).
The investigation began on August 25th, when multiple individuals contacted the FCSO to report that they’d been defrauded by Flagler Tax Service’s owner, Bob Newsholme.
Newsholme, 66, made headlines on August 24th, after shooting himself in the chest with a .380 caliber pistol and not telling anyone for 10 hours afterward. He did survive what has been classified as an attempted suicide. Newsholme does have a criminal record prior to these allegations dating back to the 1970’s in New York: Grand Larceny, Petit Larceny, Issuing Bad Checks with Knowledge, Forgery, and Scheme to Defraud. His most recent criminal charge, and arrest, was in 2004, for Grand Larceny and Scheme to Defraud. Over a dozen counts are being investigated by the FCSO at this time.
The missing funds tied into the case the FCSO is investigating total $189,871, according to the Sheriff’s Office’s statement. Many of Flagler Tax Service’s clients also believed Newsholme is a certified public accountant, which he in actuality is not.
“At this time, we have no indication that any other Flagler Tax Service employees took part in or had knowledge of any illegal activity,” said Sheriff Rick Staly. “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.”
The Sheriff’s Office also included in their statement the following notice to those who have done business with Flagler Tax Service:
“FCSO is asking the community – 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 please contact the FCSO to make a formal report at 386-313-4911.
“There are currently 12 active cases being investigated for fraud against Newsholme that FCSO is investigating. If you feel you may be a victim, please contact the FCSO by calling 386-313-4911 to file a report. Upon filing a report with FCSO, victims need to contact the IRS with their case number at 800- 829-1040 (Individuals) or 800-829-4933 (Businesses). We also urge 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.”