To whom it may concern:
I have never written a whistle-blower type letter before in my life. However, this is the first. This story has already been under investigation by Sixty Minutes on CBS, as well as in several Attorneys General offices across the country. It deserves to be reported. The reason it has not been thus far has been because of high-pressure stonewalling, legal harassment, and extortion against those who speak the truth.
I am an Ivy-educated, actively licensed attorney who holds one undergraduate degree and two graduate degrees, all from the University of Pennsylvania. After passing the Pennsylvania Bar, I stayed on at law school for an extra year, and obtained a post-doctoral law degree in taxation. I had difficulty finding a job, and after looking for over a year, I first received a response from a business consulting firm called "International Profit Associates" (IPA) headquartered in Buffalo Grove, Illinois. This organization deals with the public through a variety of acronyms, all designed to confuse and create a corporate veil between business entities as varied as "International Business Advisors", (IBA) "International Tax Advisors", (ITA) and "Accountancy Associates" and the principal culprit behind this scheme: one John Burgess, a disbarred New York attorney, who is a convicted felon for embezzlement and sexual harassment.
I was invited to interview with the organization in the summer of 2006. From the moment I got off the plane at O'Hare, something just didn't feel right. I was picked up at the airport by IPA's limousine and chauffered back to its headquarters in the Chicago suburbs. The first thing that I noticed was the great disparity between the seeming professionalism of the interviewers on the telephone and the individuals at the physical establishment: buses continually arrived bringing in countless haggared and disoriented individuals, many of them apparently from skid row in South Side Chicago, who were corraled into a call center where they cold-called small businesses nearly twenty-four hours daily.
Later, I would learn many of these individuals were supplied with the narcotics to which they were addicted as compensation for their employment. After passing through several interviews, I learned what IPA's principal business mission involved: preying on small, privately-held businesses, many of them close corporations held by Mexican- and Korean-Americans, and convincing them that they needed tax and business consulting services. The small business owners were muscled into sales contracts and then forced to pay usurious fees and expenses for largely non-existent "business advising." What this advising amounted to was nearly nothing more than an application of Quicken or TurboTax software.
In June of 2006, I expressly told IPA that I did not wish to associate myself with their enterprise. I was then contacted again at the end of the summer by the same IPA recruiter, an individual identified as James Gibson. Mr. Gibson informed me at that time that IPA was currently under the new leadership of Mr. Greg Steinberg who was merely "holding" the company until the son of Mr. Burgess was ready to take over the reins of IPA from his father. Due to a lengthy and costly divorce, I reconsidered IPA as a potential employer. My experience there soon went from bad to worse.
In November of 2006, I was brought back to Buffalo Grove to participate in a five day training exercise. What this exercise amounted to was nothing more than learning how to defraud small business owners. The company utilized all kinds of scare tactics: from threats of Treasury Agent (IRS) confiscation of business property, to bankruptcy court and insolvency, to Federal convictions in order to encourage the target business owners to buy into IPA's product -- phony consulting services that would somehow prevent all of the latter from ever happening.
We were shown a series of training films on how to execute this process of intimidation. In addition, since I was a tax attorney, I was given a "tax consultant's manual" which was devoid of even one substantive reference to Federal tax law or the Internal Revenue Code. Rather, it consisted of a play-book of misrepresentation, i.e., how to fraudulently "issue spot" certain fabricated "tax problems" in the corporate books. The manual was to be used in conjunction with a tax software CD package, designed by IPA, which allowed input of the businesses' earnings and profits, followed by an exaggerated output of tax savings which would occur if the business employed IPA's services. An inventory of small business owners who fell for this scam is available on www.ripoffreport.com -- many of them subsequently went bankrupt after refusing to pay for IPA's services and then falling victim to all kinds of vexatious lawsuits.
I left IPA for good on December 1st, 2006. I do not believe that this organization should be allowed to get away with the extortionate tactics that they use on immigrant families and closely-held corporations in middle America. In fact, I believe that IPA is a RICO (Racketeering Influenced Corrupt Organizations) indictment just waiting to happen. A strong U.S. Attorney's office could effectively shut down these slippery bastards in a matter of days: the few actively-licensed attorneys who actually work there are engaging in so many ethics violations that even they should be disbarred.
Please consider urging your State Attorney's General office to make an investigation of IPA. This is an organization that has been allowed to subsist on the naivete of small business owners for far too long. The devastation and economic ruin that they have brought to much of middle America mom-and-pop business is simply too high to even estimate.
Wash, District of Columbia