Articles Portal To Answer Your Section 79 Questions, Problems, Issues
Late breaking news: Large 419 plan Millennium files for Bankruptcy.
Recent court cases and other developments have highlighted serious problems in plans, popularly know as Benistar,
issued by Nova Benefit Plans of Simsbury, Connecticut. Recently unsealed IRS criminal case information now raises
concerns with other plans as well. If you have any type plan issued by NOVA Benefit Plans, U.S. Benefits Group,
Benefit Plan Advisors, Grist Mill trusts, Rex Insurance Service or Benistar, get help at once. You may be subject to an
audit or in some cases, criminal prosecution.
On November 17th, 59 pages of search warrant materials were unsealed in the Nova Benefit Plans litigation currently
pending in the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut. According to these documents, the IRS believes that
Nova is involved in a significant criminal conspiracy involving the crimes of Conspiracy to Impede the IRS and
Assisting in the Preparation of False Income Tax Returns.
Earlier this year, 70 armed IRS Criminal Division special agents raided the offices of Nova Benefit Plans in
Connecticut. The IRS has taken other recent criminal enforcement actions in other locations including Nebraska and
Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The IRS has told the court that it believes Nova is promoting abusive "Section 419" welfare
The IRS claims that a cooperating witness and several undercover agents "penetrated" Nova to ascertain its internal
operations. They say Nova helped its clients violate tax laws by claiming the most minor injuries as permanent
disabilities to qualify for special tax treatment. In other words, they would assist clients in claiming that a minor scrape
was a disabling and disfiguring permanent injury.
The IRS also claims that Nova assisted clients in backdating documents filed with the IRS.
How does the phony welfare benefit plan scam work? A taxpayer can contribute money tax free to the plan on behalf
of the beneficiary. At a later date, and with the assistance of Nova, the beneficiary can claim the money (again tax
free) because of a disability. According to the IRS, Nova's plan was a scam because Nova helped taxpayers claim
false disabilities. The Internal Revenue Code says disability payments are tax free if there is a permanent loss of a
bodily part or function. A small scrape is a far cry from the loss of an eye.
In one recorded conversation, a representative of Nova said, "We've never denied a claim... I recently, I don't want to
say the client's name, but he went through a minor surgery, had a little--had a mole removed off his elbow I think and
left a little scar the size of a pencil eraser, and, you know, that--that qualified."
When discussing the "independent plan trustee" that must approve the claims, the Nova representative said, "I, I'm
gonna put this very simply for you, we control the trustee, okay, and I, I don't mean that in a bad way. He's
independent but he's part of the family and we control the stuff that happens, we have ways to make stuff
happen...It's best for us to pay out as much claims so when it times for us to fight this in tax court, we can play and
sing the welfare benefit song."
Nova is not alone in the scam. According to the IRS affidavit, Nova and its principals have also done business as U.S.
Benefits Group, Benefit Plan Advisors, Grist Mill trusts, Rex Insurance Service and Benistar.
Anyone who has purchased a plan from Nova or the related entities should immediately seek competent counsel. If
the IRS is correct and these plans are not legitimate, the tax consequences to participants could be very severe. In
some cases, if clients entered these plans with knowledge of Nova's history or promises to evade taxes, the
consequences could involve criminal prosecution and perhaps prison.
As a result of the raid and a cooperating witness (we call these people informants), the IRS is believed to have the
client lists of Nova, Grist Mill and the others. Generally, as a matter of policy, the IRS will not criminally prosecute a
taxpayer who comes forward voluntarily and agrees to come into compliance. If the IRS knocks on your door first,
however, all bets are off and prosecution is much more likely.
68 Keswick Lane
Plainview, NY 11803
Fax: (516)938-6330 www.vebaplan.com
National Society of Accountants Speaker of The Year
The information provided herein is not intended as legal, accounting, financial or any type of advice for any specific
individual or other entity. You should contact an appropriate professional for any such advice.