SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Our Tipline investigation puts the spotlight on a felon who wants to represent you in Congress. It may sound crazy, but it could happen.
Steven Pybrum is out of prison and now has his sights set on Washington, D.C.
Pybrum is one of 14 Republicans hoping to replace retiring U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer. He filed papers with the Federal Election Commission in January just five months after his release from federal prison.
Pybrum is a former Santa Barbara accountant who was convicted of tax fraud. He under-reported more than a million dollars in income.
Pybrum deposited money from his CPA business, Pybrum and Company, into a bank account for a non-profit he created. His so-called charity, "Foundation for Harmony and Happiness," supposedly helped couples avoid financial disputes.
A jury convicted Pybrum on four counts of subscribing to filing false income tax returns. In March 2013, a federal judge sentenced Pybrum to three years in prison.
On July 31st, 2015, he walked out of Taft federal prison and then spent time in a halfway house.
Through it all, it appears Pybrum's website has stayed up. Despite his criminal record, the website shows he still offers financial advice, he's willing to be an expert witness and yes, he still offers tax planning.
But, we discovered the I.R.S. Office of Professional Responsibility indefinitely suspended his license. Now, Pybrum wants to represent California in the U.S. Senate deciding how your hard-earned tax dollars should be spent.
NewsChannel Three also obtained an email Pybrum is sending out asking for campaign contributions. In it, he writes, "... an experienced powerful professional team has been assembled." He also states, "...we need a permanent kinder and more gentle IRS" and that he's been teaching professionals about the tax laws since 1976.
He wraps it up by asking for a sizable contribution and to make the checks payable to "Pybrum for Senate."
It's no surprise, but in that email, Pybrum never mentions that he spent time in prison.
He refused to talk with us for this story. At one point, he offered to do an interview with us on March 9th. But, when he found out we wouldn't hold the story until then, he canceled that interview too.
We also tried to contact his treasurer, but he did not return our calls.
If you're wondering, can a felon run for Congress? In California, the answer is yes.
Depending on the terms of Pybrum's release, he might not be allowed to vote for himself.