A husband and wife pair of tax preparers have each been sentenced to five years in prison for filing false tax returns.
Shelia Young, 49, and Deane Young, 49, of Overgaard, Ariz., were sentenced Tuesday by U.S. District Judge David G. Campbell to five years of imprisonment for submitting false tax returns to the Internal Revenue Service. The Youngs were found guilty by a federal jury on Feb. 21, 2013, of conspiring to defraud the United States and submitting false claims for tax refunds.
The Youngs owned and operated Accurate Consulting LLC, an accounting and tax preparation business in Heber-Overgaard, Ariz. In addition to preparing lawful tax returns, the Youngs prepared and filed fraudulent tax returns on behalf of some of their clients that claimed false refunds ranging from $12,405 to $368,102 per return.
In total, the Youngs filed 122 false returns claiming nearly $10 million in fraudulent refunds. To make the false claims appear legitimate, the Youngs filed tax forms with the IRS, including the Form 1099-OID, that reported false income and tax withholding for the clients. Evidence also showed that the Youngs lied to their clients, telling them that the refund claims were based on tax loopholes unknown to the general public. They also bolstered their credentials, falsely claiming over 86 years of combined experience and assuring their clients that a federal judge had approved the filing method.
“Tax fraud is an insult to all honest, taxpaying citizens in this country,” said U.S. Attorney John S. Leonardo. “Hopefully the sentences imposed will discourage others from engaging in similar conduct.”
Another family member, Kenneth Defoor, also worked at the tax prep business, and was barred along with the Youngs in May 2011 from preparing tax returns.
“The Youngs stole money from the taxpayers of the United States through their fraudulent tax return scheme,” said Dawn Mertz, special agent in charge of the Phoenix Field Office of Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation unit. “In addition, their clients are now responsible for paying back the taxes, penalties, and interest associated with these bogus tax returns and potentially will be prosecuted. Be wary of any tax return preparer who promises a refund that sounds too good to be true.”
The investigation was conducted by the IRS’s Criminal Investigation unit, and the prosecution was handled by Assistant U.S. Attorneys James R. Knapp and Michael T. Morrissey of the District of Arizona in Phoenix.
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