Yoga To The People Leaders arrested for tax fraud

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The leaders of a popular donation-funded yoga studio chain could end up behind bars for tax fraud, according to the Justice Department.

Yoga for the Leaders of the People Gregory Gumucio, 61; Michael Anderson, 51; and Haven Soliman, 33, were arrested Wednesday for failing to file and pay individual or corporate tax returns for at least seven years, the US Southern District of New York claims. They are each charged with one count of conspiracy to defraud the IRS and five counts of tax evasion.

US attorney Damian Williams said in a statement that the trio had made more than $20 million from their now-defunct yoga venture.

“The defendants have executed their scheme in a variety of ways, including paying employees in cash and off the books, refusing to provide employees with tax documentation, failing to keep books and records, paying personal expenses from business bills, and using nominees for their connection to different entities,” Williams said.

The arrest and indictment are an additional blemish on the legacy of the franchise, which began around 2006 offering yoga classes in Manhattan’s Lower East Side to everyone, regardless of the amount they could afford to pay for classes. Gumucio, founder of Yoga to the People and former apostle of the sullied yogi Bikram Choudhury, has faced allegations of sexual misconduct, unsavory management practices along with alleged racial discrimination and other misdeeds. by an Instagram account known as YttP Shadow Work in July 2020. That same year, Vice News reported that he has a decades-long history of preying on vulnerable women, rape allegations, and felony convictions.

In an email obtained by Vice News, Gumucio told yoga students that the reports about him felt malicious, claimed no harm was ever done intentionally, and made it clear that the company would not tolerate abuse of any kind.

Yoga to the People closed its doors in 2020, blaming the coronavirus pandemic, but the charges against the leaders have shed new light on bogus business practices.

Thomas Fattorusso, special agent for criminal investigations for the Internal Revenue Service, said in a statement that the seemingly noble practice of offering yoga to everyone was nothing more than a “decade-long cash cow who relied on a sophisticated network of tens of millions of dollars.” in undisclosed income and free labor to fund the lavish lifestyles of the leaders.”

The yoga business grew from the beginning of a studio to about 20 yoga studios or affiliate locations in New York City and other areas such as California, Colorado, Arizona, Florida and Washington State. While it did not require payment from its classmates, the company made a significant amount of money from yoga teacher training, according to the complaint, grossing more than $20 million without ever filing a corporate tax return.

Between 2015 and 2020, Gumucio had undisclosed income of more than $1.6 million directly from Yoga to the people and owed the IRS an estimated $431,000, prosecutors say.

Anderson, a company owner and its functional chief financial officer, earned $2.1 million in undisclosed income, an estimated amount of more than $603,000 owed to the IRS, according to the Justice Department. Soliman, chief of communications and director of the teacher education program, brought in more than $961,000 in undisclosed revenue, according to the agency.

The trio enjoyed their undisclosed wealth by regularly taking extravagant trips abroad, spending large sums on fine dining and buying NFL subscriptions, according to federal prosecutors.

Gumucio allegedly abused his power by attacking and grooming typically young women and others to become nominated studio “owners,” the indictment said. He would then entice them with the title of studio owner while continuing to make business decisions and take a portion of their proceeds while the nominees faced financial risk. He also allegedly manipulated his employees into providing free services, such as teaching classes or cleaning yoga studios, in order to take home his undisclosed income.

Over the years, Yoga to the People paid its teachers in cash, forbade yoga instructors from counting money from class visitors to allow only cash to be transported to Gumicio’s apartment, and failed to keep headquarters to keep their books and records. account, using business accounts to pay for personal expenses, according to researchers.

All three face up to 10 years in prison for their charges. Legal representation for them could not be found immediately.


The Valley Voice
The Valley Voicehttp://thevalleyvoice.org
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.

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