A nonprofit executive who is a target of federal and state investigations for allegedly siphoning millions of dollars from his Golden Valley-based home health care agency has been charged with tax fraud.
The U.S. attorney’s office charged Michael Tobak, the former president and treasurer of International Health Care Services (IHCS), with one count of filing a false tax return for allegedly understating his income on a document filed in 2012.
Tobak was charged by felony “information” rather than an indictment, indicating a plea agreement could be in the works.
The Minnesota attorney general’s office, which polices nonprofits, began looking at Tobak and IHCS in August, according to court records.
“Tobak and his family appear to have used IHCS’s charitable assets for, among other things, shopping excursions at Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue and to pay themselves six-figure salaries,” according to a court document filed by Attorney General Lori Swanson. “IHCS also ‘loaned’ Tobak $10 million of its charitable assets and he promptly lost $9 million of this amount in a single futures trade.”
Tobak has borrowed $15 million from the nonprofit since 2004, according to the state, and repaid $5 million. In a recent interview with the Star Tribune, Tobak said the remaining amount is not yet due.
“We are honest people,” he said. “We borrowed the money and we returned that money.”
IHCS receives Medicare and Medicaid dollars to provide home health services focused on clients with a “multicultural and international background, primarily the non-English speaking aged community,” according to federal tax filings.
Tobak said that IHCS serves 500 clients and employs 350 people.
Under Minnesota and federal law, nonprofits receive tax breaks. In return, a nonprofit’s assets “must be used to benefit the organization’s charitable purposes and the public benefit, rather than for the benefit of those who manage the assets,” according to a brief filed by Swanson’s office.