A Jersey City school teacher has been arrested by special agents working for the IRS’s Criminal Investigation division after he was charged with allegedly preparing fraudulent income tax returns for clients and failing to report some of the income he earned from preparing tax returns.

A federal grand jury returned an eight-count indictment charging Elijah Washington Jr. with four counts of preparing false tax returns for clients and four counts of failing to report income from the preparation of tax returns.

Washington made his initial appearance Thursday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Madeline Cox Arleo and was released on bail.

“Today’s indictment is a reminder that IRS-Criminal Investigation is serious now and throughout the year in enforcing the laws directed at those who attempt to defraud our nation’s tax system,” stated JoAnn S. Zuniga, acting special agent in charge of the IRS Criminal Investigation division’s Newark Field Office, in a statement. “Those Americans who file accurate, honest and timely returns can be assured that the government will hold accountable those who do not.”

According to the indictment, in addition to being a public school teacher, Washington owned and operated an tax prep business in Jersey City called Elijah’s Professional Tax Service, where he prepared tax returns for tax years 2005 through 2008. During that time, he allegedly fabricated various items to obtain larger refunds for clients, including tuition and fees deductions, child tax credits, charitable contributions and job expenses. These fraudulent expenses and deductions caused an approximate total tax loss to the government of $116,270 for the tax years 2005 through 2008.

In addition, Washington failed to report approximately $264,471.81 of income he earned from preparing tax returns for 2005 through 2008, resulting in a tax loss to the government of approximately $73,106.

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