Shelby Twp. businessman pleads guilty to federal tax evasion

Mark Hicks
The Detroit News

A Shelby Township businessman has pleaded guilty to tax evasion, federal officials announced Monday.

Investigators allege Mersed Bebanic, 36, who owned and operated three businesses, including Century Trucking Inc., Century Trucking Services LLC and Century Innovations, was required to file personal federal income tax returns for 2011 through 2014, report an accurate net profit on Form 1120S and pay any income tax due.

But in April 2014, "Bebanic prepared and filed a Form 1040 Individual Income Tax Return with the IRS for the 2013 tax year and under reported his total income," authorities said in a statement. "Bebanic reported his taxable 2013 income as $34,073.00 and the total taxes on his income as $10,790.00 when Bebanic knew his total income for 2013 was substantially higher. As a result, the tax due and owing on his income for 2013 was also substantially higher, totaling $281,368."

Bebanic said in court that he met with his accountant in 2014 and provided information that overstated his business expenses, officials said.

Officials estimate the loss associated with his tax evasion scheme from 2011-14 totaled $1,224,461.

“Tax cases are not victimless crimes. Our tax system is based on voluntary compliance which requires each of us to act in good faith," said Manny Muriel, Special Agent in Charge of the Detroit’s IRS Criminal Investigation. "When individuals decide to cheat, it undermines the honor system and victimizes all taxpayers. IRS‐CI will continue to work tirelessly to bring to justice those who attempt cheat the system in efforts to deepen their own pockets at everyone else’s expense.”

Bebanic has agreed to pay the total amount of his restitution by applying funds seized from his home during the execution of a search warrant in August 2016.

He is scheduled to be sentenced on March 18 before U.S. District Judge Paul D. Borman. The maximum penalty for tax evasion is five years in prison and a fine of not more than $250,000.