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Tax Fraud Blotter: Million-Dollar Couple

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Some of our favorite recent tax fraud cases.

Pine Mountain, Ga.: Husband-and-wife preparers Detrick and Natashia Tucker, who owned and operated T&T Express Tax, have pleaded guilty to crimes relating to the preparation of false returns.

Detrick Tucker pleaded guilty to aiding and assisting in the preparation of false returns and Natashia Tucker to conspiring to defraud the federal government in the assessment and collection of federal income taxes.

According to court documents, the two fraudulently inflated refunds on clients’ returns to secure more business. Detrick Tucker -- rather than his wife, a convicted felon -- registered T&T with the IRS for e-filing and applied for an EFIN. He then allowed his wife to use these numbers to file returns for clients as well as for her own false 2010 and 2011 returns.

Natashia Tucker, the main preparer at T&T, prepared most of the false returns primarily by abusing the EITC and by creating false business information for clients. During its three years of operation, T&T filed more than 2,200 federal returns that claimed more than $1 million in false refunds. 

Detrick Tucker faces three years in prison and Natashia Tucker five years, as well as possible fines and mandatory restitution. Sentencing is March 25.

Manning, S.C.: Preparer Vanessa Ragin-Boatright, 48, has been arrested on six charges of assisting in the preparation of a fraudulent return. Ragin-Boatright, a preparer and college instructor, faces up to 30 years in prison or $3,000 in fines or both.

Without the consent of her clients, Ragin-Boatright prepared income tax returns using fraudulent figures and itemized deductions for the 2008 tax year. Her clients then received inflated refunds to which they were not entitled.

Tampa, Fla.: Jameshia Mack, 27, has received 75 months in federal prison for wire fraud and aggravated ID theft in connection with filing fraudulent returns using stolen personal identifying information.

Mack got an additional 14 months in prison, to run consecutive to the 75-month sentence, for committing these crimes while on supervised release from a federal sentence for aggravated ID theft in Kentucky. She was also ordered to pay $100,135 restitution to the IRS.

According to court documents, Mack filed fraudulent returns in her own and other persons’ names and directed the returns onto prepaid debit cards. She then spent the funds on retail purchases, a luxury automobile and various casino transactions. When Tampa police recently encountered Mack during a traffic stop, she had stacks of cash along with multiple credit cards and prepaid debit cards in other peoples’ names.

Mack pleaded guilty on October 17.

North Charleston, S.C.: Preparer Latasha Failey, 30, has been sentenced to a year in prison and a year of supervised release for fraudulent tax preparation. Evidence showed that Failey, owner and operator of Failey’s Tax Service, caught the attention of the IRS after the service’s fraud-detection center identified a pattern of suspicious deductions on returns she prepared. A search of Failey’s business in March of 2011 and seizure of her client files revealed at least 145 false returns prepared by her and her employees in from 2009 to 2011. These returns cost the Treasury Department some $500,000. 

Jacksonville, Fla.: Preparer Fuada Delic, 31, has been charged with tax fraud. Delic, who owned Delica’s Tax Service, is charged with two counts of filing fraudulent returns on her own behalf and 41 counts of filing fraudulent returns on behalf of clients.

According to the indictment, on or about April 14, 2009, and Sept. 28, 2010, Delic filed personal returns in which she underreported income from her tax prep business. The indictment also alleges that she filed clients’ returns on which she falsely claimed, among other things, that they had incurred educational expenses, credits and charitable contributions for which they were entitled to deductions. The filed returns span the 2008, 2009 and 2010 tax years.

If convicted, she faces a maximum of three years of imprisonment per count.

Orlando, Fla.: Local residents Kenneth Pointon, 52, and Margaret Pointon, 55, have been sentenced to federal prison for making a $509,420 false refund claim to the IRS. Kenneth Pointon, sentenced to 30 months, was also sentenced for obstructing administration of the internal revenue laws. Margaret Pointon received 13 months in federal prison. Both were also ordered to serve three years of supervised release following their prison time and to pay $485,355 in restitution.

Kenneth Pointon was a corrections officer at the Central Florida Reception Center at the time of the offense, which occurred in 2009.

A jury found the pair guilty on October 3.

According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, in 2008 Kenneth and Margaret Pointon participated in a scheme in which taxpayers reported exaggerated taxable income and withholdings, causing the IRS to issue improper refunds. The Pointons falsely reported $827,646 in taxable interest and $788,094 in inflated withholdings on their 2008 1040 when they actually earned no taxable interest in 2008 and only $65,342 in taxable income. The IRS issued a refund of $509,420 to the Pointons.

In May 2009, the Pointons deposited the check in a new bank account and within five months made numerous transfers between bank accounts. The IRS Collection Division recovered only $24,060 of the refund, resulting in a loss of $485,355.

During the time the Collection Division tried to recover the refund, Kenneth Pointon sent several “frivolous and obstructive” documents to the IRS to settle his tax liability and avoid liens and levies, authorities added.

Tujunga, Calif.: Local resident Adels Torosyan, 30, received eight months in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release (to include 12 months of home detention) for conspiring to make a false claim for payment against the IRS. Torosyan was also ordered to pay $303,735 restitution to the IRS.

According to court documents, Torosyan admitted that from approximately February 2009 to March 2012 he conspired with his former girlfriend to obtain tax refunds based on fraudulent returns, causing $2,024,423 of intended loss and $303,735 of actual loss to the IRS. Torosyan’s unidentified co-conspirator created fraudulent returns, including false W-2s that claimed that taxes were withheld. Torosyan opened bank accounts and commercial mailboxes in the names of other people; refunds based on the returns were direct-deposited into the accounts or mailed to the boxes. Authorities said Torosyan’s co-conspirator provided false passports to use in opening these accounts and mailboxes. Torosyan picked up checks for the refunds at the mailboxes and signed a fake application for a TIN, later depositing fraudulently obtained refund checks in that name.

He will begin serving his sentence on March 28.

Lehi, Utah: Jimmie Duane Ross, formerly of Sevierville, Tenn., has been sentenced to 51 months in prison based on his August 7 conviction of five counts of tax evasion. Ross also received three years of supervised release following his term and been ordered to pay restitution of $532,389.

According to the indictment and evidence, Ross won some $840,000 in 1999 after arbitration of a dispute with a former employer. He then filed a false mortgage on his residence and a false lien on his vehicle, “dealt extensively” in cash and directed funds to an offshore account to evade paying full income tax for 1999.

From 2004 through 2007, Ross also earned commission income for referring clients to what appeared to be an investment company based on the Caribbean island of Nevis and evaded his taxes by using nominees and other means, records said.

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