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Sunday, June 16, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Harmony, Happiness and Federal Prison

LOS ANGELES - A Santa Barbara-based CPA was sentenced Tuesday to 3 years in federal prison for hiding $1 million from the IRS by pretending it came from a charity called the Foundation for Harmony and Happiness.

Steven Mark Pybrum, 61, of Montecito, was convicted last year of four tax charges, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.

Pybrum failed to report more than $1 in income from his accounting business by claiming it came from the Foundation for Harmony and Happiness, prosecutors said.

"Pybrum fraudulently used money from his nonprofit organization to pay personal expenses, including renting a Montecito mansion and buying a plane, a fishing boat and an SUV," the U.S. attorney said.

In sentencing him, U.S. District Judge Gary A. Feess said Pybrum ran a "blatant, calculated, tax-fraud scheme," and that his conduct was "indefensible," according to the U.S. attorney.

A jury convicted Pybrum in October 2012. He ran his CPA business under the names Pybrum & Company and the Family Business Center. He claimed his Harmony and Happiness foundation made its money from marriage counseling.

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