Feds: Acountant bilked his own brother while cheating the IRS

SEATTLE -- A Seattle-area tax accountant accused of stealing more than $1 million in tax payments made by his brother to the IRS now faces federal fraud charges.

Indicted earlier this month, Bruce E. Bergman is alleged to have stolen the money during a 10-year-long fraud that saw him steal money his brother hoped to pay the IRS. Bergman, a 58-year-old Kirkland resident, was arrested Tuesday after the federal grand jury in Seattle handed down a six-count indictment.

A certified public accountant previously working out of Edmonds, Bergman most recently ran his own accounting firm, The Bergman Group, out of a Lynnwood office.

Hired to do his brother's taxes, Bergman pocketed the payments the other man was attempting to make to the IRS, federal prosecutors claim in charging papers. Bergman is alleged to have begun the scheme in 2002 and continued until the IRS came looking for the missing money.

According to charging papers, Bergman gave his own address to the IRS while impersonating his brother to keep tax agents from contacting his brother or sister-in-law at their homes in Texas and Colorado. Bergman is alleged to have stolen nearly $1.2 million in payments meant for the IRS during the decade-long fraud.

Beyond a prison term, federal prosecutors hope to seize Bergman's assets to recoup the money alleged to have been denied from the IRS and taken from his brother.

Bergman has been charged with one count of wire fraud and five counts of attempting to evade taxes. He is expected to return Friday to U.S. District Court at Seattle for a preliminary hearing.