Former IRS agent Ronald A. Bright pleaded guilty Tuesday to one count of assisting in the preparation of a fraudulent tax return.
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Bright served as a revenue agent for the IRS for approximately 18 years until he was terminated in 2001. In that capacity he was responsible for detailed knowledge of the federal Tax Code, the proper preparation of tax returns, and the rules for claiming deductions and credits on a federal return, according to prosecutors.
In December 2002, he applied for an Electronic Filing Identification Number and operated a tax preparation business in Wilmington, Del., called Bright’s Accounting and Tax Service, beginning with the 2003 tax-filing seasons. He filed approximately 600 tax returns a year in 2007 and 2008.
A government investigation revealed that Bright routinely included various types of false deductions and credits on his clients’ tax returns, including education credits, Individual Retirement Account deductions, charitable donations, unreimbursed employee business expense deductions, and Earned Income Tax Credits. He also falsely represented that married taxpayers were single or separate heads of household to inflate the standard deductions available, according to prosecutors.
“The thorough and careful investigation of these fraudulently prepared tax returns led to the conviction of Mr. Bright, who used his skills and knowledge of the Tax Code to defraud the government by falsely inflating his clients’ refunds,” said U.S. Attorney Charles M. Oberly III in a statement. “By holding Bright accountable for his actions, this investigation has stopped Bright from causing taxpayers additional losses.”
Bright now faces up to three years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000. A sentencing date has not yet been set.