Tax preparer Matthew Carl Berry was convicted of federal tax fraud charges for operating a scheme that earned him, family members and associates more than $1 million, according to the Justice Department.
Berry, of Rialto, Calif., was indicted on Sept. 13, 2006, on one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States and three counts of filing false income tax returns for his personal taxes during the years of the conspiracy. He allegedly conspired with Karen Berry, Carla Berry, Ivan Johnson and Valerie Dixon, each of whom have already pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to defraud the United States and false preparation.
Prosecutors presented evidence at the trial to show the scheme included preparing thousands of fraudulent tax returns every year, creating false documentation for use in IRS audits and failing to report the proceeds of the conspiracy.
The tax returns allegedly contained false Schedule A deductions for mortgage interest, real estate taxes and un-reimbursed employee expenses. The IRS audited more than 4,500 false income tax returns, with an average tax loss of more than $3,150 per return. The total tax loss is estimated to exceed $25 million.
In 2006, prosecutors obtained a stipulated preliminary injunction barring Johnson and Karen and Carla Berry from preparing tax returns until resolution of the parallel criminal and civil injunction cases. Dixon consented to an injunction barring her from preparing tax returns for 10 years.
Matthew Berry faces maximum potential sentences of five years' imprisonment and a fine of $250,000 for the conspiracy, and three years' imprisonment and a fine of $250,000 as well as the costs of prosecution for each count of filing a false return.
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