Some of our favorite recent tax fraud cases.
Griffin, Ga.: Preparer Buffy Drake, 43, pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud by filing false federal returns claiming fraudulent refunds in excess of $2.5 million. According to authorities, court documents and evidence, Drake operated the Imagine That tax prep business where, in 2011 and 2012, she filed hundreds of returns that claimed fraudulent refunds, keeping a substantial portion of the proceeds. Drake agreed to pay restitution to the IRS in the amount of $2,611,928. Sentencing is May 20.
Dallas: The Justice Department has asked a federal court to permanently bar Ricia Daniels and her company, Ricia’s Convenience Tax Service, from preparing federal tax returns for others. The complaint alleges that Daniels understates clients’ federal tax liabilities by reporting false or inflated personal and business expenses, reporting false or inflated education expenses, and improperly claiming other tax credits. According to the complaint, an IRS investigation revealed that 97 out of 98 returns prepared by Daniels and audited by the IRS resulted in understatements of her clients’ taxes. The government alleges that the understatements cost more than $500,000 in lost taxes.
Jackson, Miss.: The federal government filed seeking to bar preparer Kavivah Branson, a.k.a. Kavivah Bradley, and her business, Branson Tax Service, from preparing federal returns for others.
The civil injunction complaint alleges that Branson prepares federal income tax returns for clients that understate the tax due, and that she allegedly claims improper EITCs and education credits for clients without performing required due diligence and despite lack of supporting documentation and overstates refunds.
According to the complaint, almost all the 2,401 returns Branson prepared since 2009 sought a refund and 97 percent of the 287 returns the IRS has audited understated the client’s tax liability by an average of $5,006. Her alleged actions could result in millions of dollars of tax harm to the U.S., the government claims.
Orlando, Fla.: Preparer April Cuyler, 31, facing fines and possible prison time after a multi-million -dollar fraud and ID theft scheme, officials told news outlets. Reports said she helped prepare dozens of fraudulent returns using others’ IDs and then pocketed the proceeds. Investigators said some of the victims were as young as 16 years old, which made their identities easy to steal. Cuyler reportedly said she and an accomplice used the IDs of people provided to them by alleged co-conspirators at a food stamp office.
Loomis, Calif.: Preparer Aleksandr Kuzmenko, 30, was among those indicted for filing multiple false returns claiming the First-Time Homebuyer’s Credit, according to published reports. Kuzmenko, his brother Petr, 35, and three others were indicted.
Aleksandr Kuzmenko was a preparer at VK Tax Services in Citrus Heights, Calif., in 2009 when, according to the indictment, he used stolen IDs and fictitious addresses to file fraudulent returns that claimed more than $600,000 in First-Time Homebuyer Credits, reports said. The resulting refunds were reportedly e-deposited into bank accounts that Aleksandr and his co-defendants controlled.
If convicted, the defendants face a maximum of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for the conspiracy charge, reports said, adding that Aleksandr Kuzmenko also faces a possible maximum of five years in prison for each of the counts alleging the filing of false claims. He was released on a $50,000 bond with a court date set for April 17, according to reports.
Detroit: Resident Xzavier Tyrone Mazyck, 19, has been charged with felonies after a shooting at Tax City Tax Service, according to published reports.
Mazyck is accused of reportedly beating a preparer when the woman he was with couldn’t receive her income tax refund in cash. He has been arraigned on 30 counts, reports said, including nine counts of assault with intent to murder, nine counts of assault with intent to do great bodily harm, nine counts of felonious assault, carrying a concealed weapon, discharge of a firearm in an occupied building and felony firearm.
A security guard was also wounded in the argument, as were two other women inside the building, prosecutors reportedly said. Police told news sources that a fourth person was grazed by a bullet. Police reported that one of the shooting victims was critically injured; the others were seriously injured.