×

Ex-Quechee resident pleads not guilty in payroll fraud case

  • Ryan Wall, left, arrives with Assistant Federal Public Defender David McColgin at U.S. District Court in Burlington, Vt., on Thursday, May 16, 2019. (Glenn Russell photograph)

  • Ryan Wall arrives at U.S. District Court in Burlington, Vt., on Thursday, May 16, 2019. (Glenn Russell photograph)

  • Ryan Wall, left, arrives with Assistant Federal Public Defender David McColgin at U.S. District Court in Burlington, Vt., on Thursday, May 16, 2019. (Glenn Russell photograph)



Valley News Correspondent
Thursday, May 16, 2019

BURLINGTON — A former Quechee resident on Thursday denied he embezzled $1.2 million over six years from clients of a payroll services and tax firm in West Lebanon.

Ryan M. Wall, 41, pleaded not guilty in U.S. District Court in Burlington to wire fraud after prosecutors said he pocketed the money from March 2012 until early 2018 from payroll clients of Twin State Business Services, which was run by his in-laws.

He also pleaded not guilty to a felony charge of improper possession of three firearms in August while being an unlawful drug user and addicted to oxycodone, heroin and crack cocaine, the indictment said. The weapons listed are a 9 mm rifle, a 9 mm pistol and a .22-caliber Marlin rifle.

Wall, now of Tampa, Fla., is accused of stealing the money from clients of TSBS — doing business as AccounTax — through wire fraud.

The money was supposed to be sent to the Internal Revenue Service or the state tax departments in Vermont or New Hampshire, but payments were never made, the indictment said. As the criminal investigation by the FBI and IRS unfolded, dozens of small, family-run businesses in the Upper Valley learned they may still owe the unpaid taxes.

Federal Magistrate John M. Conroy released Wall on conditions following his 13-minute arraignment. Conroy told Wall he will be supervised by the U.S. Pretrial Services Office from the Middle District of Florida.

Under questioning from Conroy about treatment for possible drug addiction, Wall said he had entered a drug-treatment center in September and successfully completed both inpatient and outpatient programs by February. He said he has maintained sobriety since Sept. 10.

Wall said he is currently working as an “in-home sales representative.” He did not elaborate. Conroy gave the defense 90 days to file pre-trial motions.

Federal and state officials have said Wall’s embezzlement is linked to the distribution of drugs by a former colleague who died by suicide shortly after agreeing to cooperate with the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Jeffrey Koloski, 52, of White River Junction, had settled in April to plead guilty to a felony charge of helping with the illegal distribution of heroin and oxycodone between July 2012 and August 2018 in Vermont and elsewhere, public records show. Koloski also was due to appear on Thursday in federal court in Rutland to formally plead guilty, but he was found dead April 22, records show.

Wall walked into the federal courthouse in Burlington on Thursday morning about five minutes before his scheduled arraignment.

After passing through a metal detector, he shook hands and introduced himself to another man there for the hearing, apparently unaware that he was a Valley News correspondent, before Assistant Federal Public Defender David McColgin said his client would have nothing to say.

Wall grew up in Barnard and graduated from Woodstock Union High School in 1995. He also has a bachelor’s degree in business management from the former Johnson State College in 2000.

He had turned himself in last month to the FBI in Tampa, Fla, where he has been living. A federal magistrate judge released Wall from court in Tampa on an unsecured $10,000 bond with an agreement he would appear for his arraignment in Vermont on Thursday.

Mike Donoghue can be reached at vermontnewsfirst@gmail.com.