Some of our favorite recent cases of tax fraud.
Opelousas, La.: Preparer Lachala Guidry Joseph, 37, has pleaded guilty to tax evasion and failing to pay more than $125,000 in taxes.
According to authorities, Joseph, who owned and operated Guidry’s Tax Service, a.k.a. Dee’s Tax Service, from 2007 to 2014, deposited business income into accounts held by her sister, mother and aunt in order to disguise the amount she earned.
She filed her 2010 federal return stating that she only received $13,858 in wages and claiming a $7,695 refund. She also did not file income tax returns for years 2011 to 2013 in total failing to report more than $510,000 in income, resulting in a federal tax loss of $125,014.22.
Joseph’s business also added false cash income information to clients’ returns to qualify for the maximum EITC, resulting in her clients receiving inflated refunds.
Joseph faces up to five years in prison, three years of supervised release, a $100,000 fine, and payment of restitution.
Waterbury, Conn.: Preparer Marcus Fox, 41, has pleaded not guilty to charges of filing false returns.
The indictment alleges that Fox prepared returns for taxpayers in his community, many associated with a church he attended. From approximately 2009 through 2012, he prepared and filed more than 900 returns, a number of which, authorities said, contained false information, including false child care credits, education credits, American Opportunity credits, itemized deductions, education expenses, charitable contributions, unreimbursed employee business expenses, hobby expenses, and child care costs. The false returns resulted in inflated refunds; Fox typically received $200 to $350 in prep fees.
The indictment further alleges that beginning in approximately 2011 he falsified a number of returns that allowed him to secure a greater payout for himself without clients’ knowledge. Fox would prepare a client return with significant falsified credits or expense deductions, which resulted in a substantial phony refund. The return would be e-filed with the IRS with instructions to split payment of the large refund between the client and Fox. He would also prepare a second return that he never filed but instead provided to his client to hide the scheme.
The indictment charges Fox with six counts of filing a false return, an offense that carries a maximum of three years of imprisonment and a fine of up to $250,000 for each count.
He was released on a $100,000 bond.
Bossier City, La.: Karen Cartagena, 55, has been sentenced to 21 months in prison for making and filing a false return.
Cartagena, described by news outlets as a former Jackson Hewitt preparer, was also ordered to serve three years of supervised release and pay $84,147 restitution.
According to evidence, Cartagena prepared and filed a fraudulent return on or about Jan. 24, 2012, in which she added education credits to which she was not entitled.
Millersville, Md.: CPA George Thomas, 56, has been charged with stealing about $100,000 while doing a local doctor’s taxes, according to published reports.
According to news outlets, Thomas, who uses the alias George T. Kuzhivelil, allegedly stole the funds from the doctor last year while doing payroll and tax services for the doctor’s small business.
Thomas reportedly turned himself in following a seven-month investigation and was released on $100,000 bail.
St. Ann, Mo.: Local resident Ebonyi Blakely, 28, has pleaded guilty to an indictment charging her with conspiracy to obstruct or impair the IRS.
Blakely admitted that she conspired with and assisted a dishonest tax preparer, Tanya Nichols, who was sentenced in June to 57 months’ imprisonment (Accounting Today) in connection with filing false returns to claim inflated refundable tax credits for low-income tax filers.
Authorities said Blakely recruited individuals to have their returns prepared by Nichols; Blakely also admitted that she had her own federal income tax return prepared by Nichols.
Blakely faces not more than five years in prison, a $250,000 fine and not more than three years of supervised release when she is sentenced on Nov. 6.
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