Earlier this month, Eduardo C. Partida, a resident of South Gate, pleaded guilty to one count of tax fraud, according to an IRS press release. The relevant conduct spanned the 2005 through 2009 tax years, resulting in a fairly small loss of $49,000. The “sexy” part of this case comes from the origin of Partida’s omitted income: toner theft. Or, perhaps more apt, toner embezzlement or misappropriation. Partida was a mail room employee of Ikon Office Solutions assigned to work at the Hilton Worldwide office in Beverly Hills. Partida supplemented his income by taking toner cartridges, selling them, and pocketing the proceeds.
This is not the first time I have seen this scheme, nor the first time I have seen the Central District prosecute a case like this. Toner theft can be big money because, as most of us know, those little buggers are expensive! Low level employees at the ordering and intake level of large offices or office supply companies can become opportunity thieves because these places use and purchase so much toner that they may not initially notice their employees skimming.
These opportunistic employees often can’t avoid detection by the IRS, however, since a lot of the toner sales, especially in bulk, create electronic records and receipts which the IRS can easily trace back.