Treasury Offers Help To Taxpayers Who Missed Tax Filing Deadline

Lansing, MIApril 26, 2017 – Michigan taxpayers who missed the Tuesday, April 18, state individual income tax filing deadline have options for filing a late return, according to the Michigan Department of Treasury (Treasury).

“Late filers should file all income tax returns that are due,” said Deputy Treasurer Glenn White, head of Treasury’s Tax Administration Group. “If a taxpayer owes tax and cannot make full payment, Treasury will work with them on payment options. We want to help taxpayers avoid interest charges and late payment penalties.”

Treasury recommends past-due tax filers consider:

  • Filing a return to claim an outstanding refund. Taxpayers risk losing their state income tax refund if they don’t file a return four years from the date due of the original return. Go to www.mifastfile.org to learn more about e-filing.
  • Filing a return to avoid interest and penalties. File past due returns and pay now to limit interest charges and late payment penalties. Failure to pay could affect a taxpayer’s credit score and the ability to obtain loans.
  • Requesting a penalty waiver. Penalty may be waived on an assessment if a taxpayer can show reasonable cause for their failure to pay on time. Reasonable cause includes serious illness, a fire or natural disaster, or criminal acts against you. Documentation should be submitted to substantiate the reason for a penalty waiver request.
  • Paying as much owed tax as possible. If taxpayers owe but can’t pay in full, they should pay as much as they can when they file their tax return. Payments can be made using Michigan’s e-Payments service. When mailing checks, carefully follow tax form instructions. Treasury will work with taxpayers who cannot pay the full amount of tax they owe.
  • Making monthly payments through an installment agreement. For Installment Agreements lasting for 24 months or less, taxpayers must complete, sign and return the Installment Agreement (Form 990). The agreement requires a proposed payment amount that will be reviewed for approval by Treasury.

To learn more about Michigan’s income tax, go to www.michigan.gov/incometax or call Treasury’s Income Tax Information Line at 517-636-4486. Taxpayer inquires can also be made online.

NASA Digital Communications Honored with 2017 Webby Awards

NASA’s digital communications team will be honored at the 21st Annual Webby Awards on May 16 in New York. For the first time, NASA’s social media presence has been recognized by the Webby Awards, winning in corporate communications and being honored with the People’s Voice Award.

Read more here:: NASA Digital Communications Honored with 2017 Webby Awards

Former Shelby Police Chief Pleads Guilty to Embezzlement

Lansing, MIApril 24, 2017 – Former Village of Shelby Police Chief Robert Wilson has pled guilty to one felony count of Embezzlement $20,000 or more but less than $50,000, and one count of Motor Vehicle-False Certification.

Wilson entered his plea on Friday April 21, 2017 in front of Judge Robert D. Springstead of the 27th Circuit Court, covering Newaygo and Oceana Counties.

Wilson was charged following an investigation into the salvage vehicle inspections he conducted which revealed he was not turning the collected fees over to the Village of Shelby in Oceana County. Sentencing is scheduled for June 5th at 1:30 pm at the 27th Circuit Court.

Case Background

Wilson, who was terminated from his position as Village of Shelby Police Chief as a result of this investigation, performed 699 salvage vehicle inspections between December 2013 and November 2015 without turning the fees over to the Village of Shelby. Per Michigan statute, inspections done by Michigan law enforcement officers on salvage vehicles can cost up to $100.

Wilson did not inform government officials in the Village of Shelby that he was collecting inspection fees.

Michigan Salvage Titles

Salvage titles are issued for a vehicle that has become a “distressed vehicle.” A vehicle with a salvage title cannot be plated or used on public roads until it is re-certified by a specially trained police officer and re-titled.

NASA Astronaut Peggy Whitson Talks STEM Education with President Trump

NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson, currently living and working aboard the International Space Station, broke the record Monday for cumulative time spent in space by a U.S. astronaut – an occasion that was celebrated with a phone call from President Donald Trump, First Daughter Ivanka Trump, and fellow astronaut Kate Rubins.

Read more here:: NASA Astronaut Peggy Whitson Talks STEM Education with President Trump

Former State Employee Charged with Embezzlement

Lansing, MIApril 22, 2017 – Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette announced he filed felony embezzlement charges against Maria Louisa Mason, of Williamston, for allegedly stealing money from a state fund designated for a memorial statue.

“I have said it before and will continue to, public officials are held to a higher standard,” said Schuette. “Ms. Mason was allegedly using funds dedicated to a memorial statue to instead fund her personal expenses and now she is facing the consequences.”

Mason was arraigned Tuesday, April 18, 2017 before Magistrate Laura Milllmore in 54A District Court. Her bond was set at $10,000 personal recognizance bond. Mason’s next court appearance is a pre-exam conference scheduled for April 27th at 9:30 a.m.

“The Michigan State Police is committed to protecting the citizens of Michigan and that includes holding public officials accountable if they abuse their power,” said Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue, director of the Michigan State Police. “The MSP does not tolerate any type of criminal behavior.”

Case Background

Maria Louisa Mason, 80, is the former Executive Director of the Michigan Hispanic/Latino Commission within the Department of Civil Rights. A complaint was filed with the Michigan State Police by the Department of Civil Rights after it was suspected that Mason had stolen money that had been given to the state to construct a Cesar Chavez Memorial statue in Lansing.

MSP began an investigation that revealed Mason allegedly embezzled over $73,500 from February 2013 until June 2015. She retired in December 2015. It is alleged that Mason took State of Michigan money that had been given to the Commission to build the memorial statue in Lansing. She arranged to have the funds transferred to a non-profit and a local community center. Mason allegedly had control of the bank accounts for both organizations. Neither used the money for the Chavez statute. Instead Mason transferred the funds to her personal accounts and personally took numerous cash withdrawals. The monument has not been built.

Ms. Mason allegedly used her ill-gotten gains, to pay her numerous credit cards, including AMEX, Capital One, Chase, Discover, Macy’s, and Bloomingdales.  She also paid her University Club Fees, her State of Michigan and City of Lansing taxes, her auto insurance, DTE and cell phone bills, and for shoes, among other items.

The executive director is selected by the commissioners, who are appointed by the Governor with advice and consent from the Senate.

Owners of Orchard Lake Sushi Restaurant Charged with 65 Felonies for Tax Embezzlement Scheme

Lansing, MIApril 22, 2017 – Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette announced he had filed over 100 felony charges against Christina and Dong Hyun Chang, of Orchard Lake, and their business Sushi Samurai, Inc. for embezzling over $100,000 in sales tax paid by their customers and by underreporting their income by over $100,000.

Schuette filed the following charges against both Dong Hyun and Christina Chang and their restaurant Sushi Samurai, Inc. in Oakland County’s 48th District Court:

  • One count of Embezzlement over $100,000, a felony punishable by a maximum term of up to 20 years in the state prison and/or a fine up to $50,000, or 3 times the amount embezzled, whichever is greater;
  • One count of Conspiracy to Embezzle over $100,000, a felony punishable by up to 20 years in the state prison and a $10,000 additional fine;
  • One count of Possession of an automated sales suppression device, a felony punishable by 1-5 years in prison;
  • 59 counts of filing false monthly sales tax returns, a felony punishable by up to 5 years and/or a $5,000 fine, and;
  • Five counts of filing false joint income tax returns, punishable by up to 5 years and/or a $5,000 fine.

“If the allegations are true, these individuals intentionally possessed illegal software to steal from the State of Michigan for nothing more it seems than personal greed,” said Schuette. “No one is above the law and those who believe they are will continue to face the consequences.”

Dong Hyun, 46, and Christina Chang, 51, were arrested on outstanding warrants on Thursday, April 20, 2017. The Changs and their restaurant Sushi Samurai were arraigned late Thursday afternoon before Magistrate Julie Nelson-Klein in the 48th District Court.

Bond was set at $1 million cash/surety on 65 felony counts for both Changs and $100,000 personal recognizance bond was set for their business Sushi Samurai. As a condition of bond both Dong Hyun and Christina must surrender their passports and wear a GPS tether monitors. Their next court appearance is a pre-exam conference before Judge Kimberly Small at 9:00 on May 1, 2017 at the 48th District Court in Bloomfield Hills.

Case Background

The Changs were charged after a joint investigation by the Department of Attorney General and the Department of Treasury.

During the investigation, it was determined that the sales in Sushi Samurai’s records were allegedly significantly higher than those reported to the state. The “zapper” software essentially deletes sales from the Point of Sale records (usually a cash register). This is allegedly what the Changs did to their sales after the audit.  It is alleged that thousands of sales receipts had been deleted.

After further investigation it was determined that in total the Changs allegedly embezzled over $170,000 in sales tax receipts alone. In addition, over $2.5 million in sales were allegedly never reported or accounted for in income tax filings between 2012-2016.

A criminal charge is merely an accusation and the defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty.

How to See President’s Call to International Space Station on April 24

President Donald Trump, First Daughter Ivanka Trump, and NASA astronaut Kate Rubins will make a special 20-minute, Earth-to-space call at 10 a.m. EDT Monday, April 24, to personally congratulate NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson for her record-breaking stay aboard the International Space Station.

Read more here:: How to See President’s Call to International Space Station on April 24

Sara Cambensy Announces Run for 109th State House Seat

Marquette, MIApril 20, 2017 – Marquette City Commissioner Sara Cambensy announced her candidacy for Michigan’s 109th State House of Representatives District yesterday among supporters on the front steps of the Peter White Library.

“I have chosen today, Tax Day, to announce my candidacy for the 109th House seat, because I feel the most important issues our state needs to address revolve around our tax dollars and how they are being spent in Lansing,” Cambensy said. “While our governor and legislature keep giving more and more tax breaks to large corporations, our counties, townships and municipalities keep paying our fair share of individual and small business taxes. Yet year after year, we continue to receive less and less revenue sharing back from our state to fix our infrastructure, fund public safety, and provide our public schools with the resources and the latest technology to prepare our students for 21st century jobs.”

Cambensy explained that her top priority is bringing the voice of people to Lansing, where too many lobbyists have the attention of legislators at the expense of local needs. Small businesses, local governments and citizens in the district are not getting a fair return on taxes paid. Quality of life is negatively affected by tax giveaways, denying local governments and schools of the money they need to provide basic services to their communities. She maintains these are non-partisan issues.

“We cannot wait to find better solutions for the mining and other jobs our region has lost. We cannot continue to restructure our public education system without input from the people doing those jobs. We need solutions to fix our roads, transportation system, and general infrastructure,” said Cambensy. “We can’t wait for Lower Michigan to solve our energy issues or continue to let Lower Michigan control the urgency of closing the Dark Store tax loophole once and for all.”

Cambensy also received the support of Marquette City Mayor David Campana, who introduced her to the crowd gathered to hear her announcement. “I have worked with Sara on the City Commission and observed her service on other boards and committees and believe she will make a great State Representative for the people of the 109th district.”

Ms. Cambensy is currently employed as the Director of Adult and Community Education and Kaufman Auditorium, for Marquette Area Public Schools. She was appointed to the Marquette City Planning Commission in 2008, elected to the Marquette Charter Commission in 2011 and has served as an elected Marquette City Commission since 2012. Sara earned her Bachelors of Science degree in Education from NMU in 2002 and her Masters of Public Administration degree from Northern Michigan University in the fall of 2011. She is a lifelong resident of Marquette.

Two New Crew Members Arrive at International Space Station

After a six-hour flight, NASA astronaut Jack Fischer and cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin of the Russian space agency Roscosmos arrived at the International Space Station at 9:23 a.m. EDT Thursday where they will continue important scientific research.

Read more here:: Two New Crew Members Arrive at International Space Station