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IRS: 'Broke' Sacramento landlord earned plenty

10:33 PM, Feb 28, 2014   |    comments
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SACRAMENTO - The owner of a boarded-up house involved in a fatal fire last week who claimed in court documents that he's broke had an average adjusted gross income of $369,000 in three recent tax years, according to IRS documents.

Raghvendra "Raj" Singh, 51, also collects $32,000 per year in Social Security benefits because of a disability, which is included in the total.

The income figures were revealed in an IRS audit report filed as part of a federal tax court appeal.

A News10 analysis of property records shows Singh and his wife, Kiran Rawat, own at least 26 properties in Rawat's name or the name of various trusts in Sacramento, Placer and El Dorado counties.

In a 2010 bankruptcy filing, however, Singh claimed he owned no real estate or personal property and had only $72 in cash. 

An IRS audit shows Singh and Rawat, who file tax returns jointly, had adjusted gross income of $279,000 in 2008, $234,000 in 2009 and $594,000 in 2010.

Singh is a licensed civil engineer and Rawat is a registered nurse, although the audit doesn't offer details on their sources of income.

The IRS examination determined the couple underreported their income or overstated their deductions in all three tax years, leading to a total balance due of $325,970, which has been recorded as a tax lien with the Sacramento County Recorder.

According to the IRS audit, the couple claimed $1.1 million in deductions over the three-year period for the "cost of goods sold." 

The IRS examiner disallowed the entire amount.

The audit also found that Singh failed to report his Social Security income in 2009 and 2010 and failed to report $345,032 of "other income" in 2010.

Earlier this year Singh fought the audit findings in US Tax Court and his case was dismissed in April.

Singh then appealed to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, where he applied for and was granted financial hardship status to obtain a fee waiver.

In the form, filed Nov. 5, Singh stated his monthly income as $200 and said he and his wife have a total of $40 in cash between them.

Property records show Singh paid $65,000 cash in 2009 for the house at 4510 Stockton Boulevard where the fatal fire occurred last Thursday.

Rosalea Trejo, 35, died after being trapped behind boarded-up windows and doors.  Three others in the house suffered burns and smoke inhalation.

Court documents show Sacramento County inspectors had been trying to get Singh to make necessary repairs to the property for over a year, and recently succeeded in getting a receiver appointed to assume management of the house along with a triplex around the corner also owned by Singh.

RELATED STORY: Fatal fire landlord had running battle with county inspectors

by George Warren, GWarren@news10.net

News10/KXTV

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