Maryland business owner pleads guilty to tax evasion

BALTIMORE — The owner of a Maryland physical therapy business is facing up to five years in prison after pleading guilty to not paying more than $258,000 in federal employment taxes.

Harshe Shende, 57, of Hanover, pleaded guilty Tuesday to eight counts of failing to pay employment taxes to the Internal Revenue Service in 2014 and 2015.

According to Shende’s guilty plea, he was the sole owner and resident agent of Progressive Rehab Services. The company was formed in 2004 and employed physical and occupational therapists who worked with patients in nursing homes.

Authorities said Shende filed forms with the Internal Revenue Service showing Medicare and Social Security withholding taxes for employees but failed to pay the employment taxes to IRS. Shende also failed to pay the employers’ portion of employment taxes to the IRS, they said.

Court documents show that Shende and his then wife incorporated another company, Progressive Health Group Inc., in 2006 with the stated purpose of providing rehabilitation services to nursing homes, hospitals, assisted living facilities and home health agencies.

Shende admitted that, as with Progressive Rehab, he failed to pay the taxes withheld from Progressive Health employees’ wages and the employer’s portion of the employment taxes.

As a result, Shende failed to pay to the IRS a total of $155,838.15 in employment taxes withheld in tax years 2014 and 2015 and failed to pay the IRS a total of $103,066.85, which was the employer’s share of employment taxes for tax years 2014 and 2015. .

Shende is scheduled for sentencing on July 23.