Now for the clients; ‘the crimes were serious’; the jailed and the dead; and other highlights of recent tax cases.

Stratford, Conn.: Preparer Juan Silva, 37, has pleaded guilty to preparing false federal returns.

According to court documents and statements, Silva operated Oficina Hispana, a multi-service business that included tax prep. Between approximately 2011 and 2017, Silva falsified itemized deductions and unreimbursed employee business expenses on numerous returns that he prepared for clients. For the 2011, 2012 and 2013 tax years, Silva also made substantial deposits of business receipts from his prep business into his personal bank accounts and failed to report to the IRS a total of more than $306,000 in income.

Silva pleaded guilty to one count of aiding and assisting the filing of a false return. He faces a maximum of three years in prison, a fine of up to approximately $300,000 and restitution of $143,693. The IRS is also trying to recover unpaid taxes from Silva’s clients.

Harrisburg, Pa.: Preparer Felix Ramon Diaz, 58, has been sentenced to one year and one day in prison for aiding and assisting the preparation of false tax documents.

Authorities said Diaz, who pleaded guilty in January, owned Felix Tax Service and from 2010 through 2013 filed 45 tax returns with false and fraudulent income, deductions, and addresses in an effort to inflate refunds.

His conduct resulted in $100,000 in tax losses to the government.

Court authorities noted health issues facing Diaz and his lack of prior criminal history as mitigating factors. When imposing sentence, the judge noted the crimes were serious and Diaz committed the offense for years.

Slatington, Pa.: Preparer Nick J. Chacanias, 56, has been sentenced to 15 to 30 months in jail plus three years of probation, after previously pleading guilty to felony theft, according to published reports.

In May, the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office charged Chacanias with stealing some $76,000 from clients by claiming he was filing their returns with the state and federal governments and then pocketing their money and never filing their returns.

Investigators at the time alleged that Chacanias received 72 checks from his clients totaling $76,800.86 between 2012 and 2015, all for filing state and federal returns. In several cases, he also received checks to file incorporation documents for some clients.
Neither were ever filed.

Chacanias forged tax filings to make it appear to his clients as if he had filed their returns; the time-stamped returns he showed his clients were forgeries. One client was scammed out of $32,000, another out of $21,400.

Chacanias owned and operated various companies as part of his scheme: C&M Accounting and Tax Solutions Inc.; C&M Accounting and Tax Solutions; and NJC Tax and Accounting Services.

Lauderhill, Fla.: Local resident Evens Julien, 53, has been sentenced to four years in prison for his role in a stolen ID refund fraud.

According to documents and information provided to the court, from approximately 2008 through January 2015 Julien and others used stolen IDs, including the personal ID information of prisoners and deceased individuals, to file more than 2,000 federal returns. These fraudulent returns sought more than $2 million in refunds.

Julien and his co-conspirators recruited others to obtain EFINs in their names to file the fraudulent returns. They directed the refunds to debit cards and treasury checks and had them mailed to south Florida addresses, then cashed the refund checks at check-cashing stores and used Western Union and ATMs to withdraw the money.

Julien pleaded guilty in October to conspiring to defraud the IRS, commit wire fraud and commit aggravated ID theft. He was also ordered to serve four years of supervised release and to pay $1,169,000 restitution to the IRS.

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Jeff Stimpson

Jeff Stimpson

Jeff Stimpson is a veteran freelance journalist who previously served as editor of The Practical Accountant.