Multifest exec sentenced for tax - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

Multifest exec sentenced for tax fraud stemming from embezzlement scheme

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Former Multifest executive director Deborah Starks was sentenced Tuesday to 21 months in federal prison for tax fraud. 

Starks admitted that she falsified tax records, hiding more than $500,000 in taxable income. This sentencing is in connection with an embezzlement scheme in which Starks took nearly $300,000 from Multifest. 

"Stealing $300,000 from a small business or charity could easily put that organization out of business," said US Attorney Booth Goodwin in a news release about the sentencing. "That's why my office has focused on investigating and prosecuting cases like these, to protect small businesses and charities and to send a clear message that stealing from them won't be tolerated."

Starks admitted that she wrote checks from Multifest accounts between 2005 and 2010, she wrote checks to herself and others, or just took money from the accounts at ATM machines. Starks said the money was used primarily for a gambling habit. 

The Court ordered Starks to pay restitution to MultiFest in the amount of $306,872.04 and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in the amount of $128,626.