A Dickson accountant has been sentenced to eight years of probation after he was convicted of felony theft earlier this year.
Stephen Wallick, 50, was sentenced in a Thursday, May 30 hearing, nearly three years after he was indicted for the crime by a Dickson County grand jury.
Under his probation terms, Wallick, whose office is on College Street, is ordered to stay away from all staff and employees of Blankenship CPA Group and their families, Assistant District Attorney Carey Thompson said. Wallick was also ordered to pay $60,000 in restitution.
While Wallick is not a licensed CPA or accountant, his felony conviction should prevent him from being able to prepare tax returns with the IRS as a registered tax preparer, Thompson said.
Wallick agreed to sell his list of 520 clients to Blankenship CPA group for more than $158,000 when he began working there in August 2012, according to a district attorney’s investigation.
While still working with the firm in November 2015, Wallick copied about 35,000 client files with data such as bank account information, social security numbers and birthdays, according to the investigation. Wallick then used that information to collect payments from those clients.
“Customers were paying the suspect (Wallick) directly and he was keeping the funds and not turning them into the firm as required,” according to the investigation.
He resigned from Blankenship in December 2015.
At least 29 clients have been confirmed as paying Wallick directly. A spreadsheet created by Wallick showed that he collected nearly $61,000 from such clients, according to the investigation.
“All of this money should have been paid directly to Blankenship CPA group, as this was work done by Blankenship under engagement with Blankenship and was billed by Blankenship in their system,” according to the investigation.
Most of the data theft took place from January through November of 2015 and the use of the data continued indefinitely from that date forward, according to the investigation.