May 26, 2016


No. 4: Lorain tax preparer Richard Zakarian accused of stealing millions


According to lawsuits and criminal charges the amount of money that Lorain tax consultant Richard Zakarian is accused of stealing from his clients stands at around $1.9 million.

But prosecutors and attorneys for some of the more than 100 victims he’s accused of bilking believe that figure will eventually stand at several million dollars as the investigation into the jailed Zakarian’s business practices continues.

Zakarian, who ran Benjamin Franklin Payroll Services, would allegedly keep the money his clients would give him to forward to the government to cover payroll taxes. His victims include businesses such as Spitzer Management, but also nonprofits, churches and even private investors who had trusted him with their retirement savings.

Zakarian even allegedly solicited some of his victims, telling nonprofits and churches across the nation that they had won free payroll and tax services from a charity he ran. After the victims agreed, Zakarian allegedly pocketed the money.

About Brad Dicken

Brad Dicken is the senior writer for the Chronicle-Telegram. He covers courts and county government, and has been with the Chronicle since 2001. He can be reached at 329-7147 or Follow him on Twitter.