Some of our favorite recent tax fraud cases.
New York: Preparer Cruz D. Acevedo, 49, has been arrested and charged by New York State authorities in connection with allegedly preparing and filing false personal income tax returns showing fictitious expenses and stealing clients’ refunds.
Acevedo, who prepared returns under the business name Nostra Tax Service, has been charged with over 10 counts, including three counts of offering a false instrument for filing, three counts of criminal tax fraud, and two counts of second-degree ID theft.
Bossier City, La.: Preparer Karen Cartagena, 54, has pleaded guilty to one count of making and filing a false return. According to evidence, Cartagena prepared and filed a return in January 2012 that included education credits to which she was not entitled. She faces up to three years in prison, one year of supervised release, a $250,000 fine and restitution. Sentencing is July 16.
Belmont, N.C.: Preparer Jessica Ordonez, 38, has been sentenced to two years in prison and one year under court supervision, and been ordered to pay $288,302.63 restitution for tax evasion and filing false returns.
According to court records and the sentencing hearing, Ordonez, who owned Tax Pros (a.k.a. Ordonez Tax Services) with offices in Gastonia and Morganton, N.C., prepared between 2004 and 2012 at least 100 false returns for 23 taxpayers. She used fraudulent ITINs and false Additional Child Tax Credit and other information to prepare the fraudulent returns that inflated refunds.
The associated tax loss was approximately $202,217. Court records also indicate that Ordonez failed to report her own income on her individual returns for tax years 2009 to 2011, with a corresponding tax loss of $86,085.
She pleaded guilty in April 2014 to one count of tax evasion and one count of aiding and assisting in the preparation and presentation of a false return. Ordonez has been released on bond and will be ordered to report to the Federal Bureau of Prisons to begin serving her sentence upon designation of a federal facility.
Indianapolis: Preparer Doris Brown, 48, has been indicted for preparing and assisting in filing fraudulent returns.
Brown operated Get Money Taxes, where she prepared and filed returns for more than 20 years. The indictment alleges that in 2010 she prepared and filed a false federal income tax return that inflated her client’s refund. She allegedly exploited the EITC and inflated her client’s refund with false business income and dependent information.
Specifically, the indictment alleges that Brown purchased a child’s information from someone in the community, including their name and Social Security number, for use as a dependent on a return. She then allegedly used information in preparing and filing the client’s tax return in 2010, knowing that the client had no relation to the child and could not claim the child as a dependent. The indictment alleges that Brown also used the same child as a dependent on her own return filed in 2011, knowing that she had no relation to the child and could not claim the child as a dependent.
Brown faces up to six years in jail if convicted on all counts.
Miramar, Fla.: Preparer Julio Lugo, 38, of Broward County, has been sentenced to 70 months in prison and three years of supervised release and been ordered to pay $279,903 restitution in connection with an ID-theft and tax-fraud scheme.
According to court documents, Lugo operated various tax prep businesses, including #1 Tax Specialist, The Number One Tax Specialist, and Number Two Tax Specialist. Light House Refund, another preparation business, obtained an EFIN that Lugo used to file 48 returns using stolen IDs and to obtain illegal refunds.
Lugo previously pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to defraud the government with respect to claims and one count of aggravated ID theft. Co-defendant Jamar James was sentenced to two years of probation after pleading guilty to one count of making a false statement to a federal agency.
Kenner, La.: Preparer Christie Robinson, 39, of LaPlace, La., has been charged in a four-count indictment with filing false statements on returns and three counts of aggravated ID theft.
According to the indictment, Robinson, who owned and operated the tax prep business CRR Services LLC, failed to report all of the fees she received for tax prep. For the tax years 2007, 2009, 2010 and 2011, Robinson failed to disclose a total of $471,000 in income.
In the final three counts of the indictment, she is charged with aggravated ID theft for e-filing three returns using individuals’ names, dates of birth and Social Security numbers without their permission.
If convicted on the tax charges, Robinson faces a maximum of three years in prison on each count, a fine of $100,000 and up to three years of supervised release, as well as having to pay restitution. If convicted on the aggravated ID theft count, she faces two years per count consecutive to any sentence she receives on the tax counts, a $250,000 fine, restitution and three years of supervised release.
Bristol, Ind.: Preparer Marie Anderson, 36, has been sentenced to two years in prison and one year of supervised release and been ordered to pay $99,786.64 restitution after pleading guilty to providing false information to the IRS, according to published reports.
Reports said Anderson gave false information in a couple’s individual income tax returns to inflate the refund. The retired couple reportedly didn’t own a business, partnership or joint venture but Anderson provided false information about their business income, business mileage and car and truck expenses, unsupported by any documentation or information. The couple received a refund of $4,955 for their 2010 tax return, reports said, adding that Anderson operated Four Seasons Finance out of her home.
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