Some of our favorite recent tax fraud cases.
Hyattsville, Md.: Norman D. West, 48, of, Maryland and Washington, D.C., has been sentenced to two years in prison and three years of supervised release and been ordered to pay $408,221.30 restitution for conspiracy to commit theft of public money in connection with a fraudulent tax refund scheme.
According to the plea agreement, West is a musician who also operated a tax prep business known as Flash Cash Financial, or Flash Cash, with a purported business address in Baltimore. From August 2011 through January 2013, West and his co-conspirators obtained the personal information of “recruits” that he used to file false returns to generate a fraudulent refund. West, who relied largely on word of mouth to market his scheme, paid a co-conspirator a $100 referral fee per recruit.
West and his co-conspirators obtained the identities of at least 197 individuals, using the personal information of those individuals and making up the rest of the phony returns. West listed false wages and falsely claimed educational tax credits and the EITC.
West filed 197 federal returns that claimed $391,553 in fraudulent tax refunds, all of which were issued by the IRS. In addition, West filed 28 fraudulent returns with the District of Columbia, which generated an additional $16,668.30 in bogus refunds. He paid the recruits a portion of the refunds, usually about $500, and kept the rest for himself and his co-conspirators.
Boston: CPA Greg Takesian, 52, of Miami, has been charged and arrested in connection with failing to report significant income to the IRS.
According to the indictment, from 2008 to 2011 Takesian failed to report more than $800,000 of income and as a result owes more than $200,000 in income taxes to the IRS. Takesian worked for Takesian & Co., a tax consulting firm owned by his father. Although Takesian ran the day-to-day business of Takesian & Co., he did not have an ownership stake.
Between 2008 and 2011, Takesian & Co. received more than $1 million for tax and consulting services from At Home VNA, a home-health company in Waltham, Mass. In accordance with his duties, Takesian had check-writing authority, and took out several Takesian & Co. credit cards in his name.
During that time, he used several hundred thousand dollars of Takesian & Co. funds for his personal use without reporting this income on his tax disclosures. Takesian gave his wife more than $500,000 and another woman $200,000 of Takesian & Co. funds through checks and cash deposits. Takesian also allowed his wife and others to use Takesian & Co. credit cards to spend more than $50,000 on cruises, jewelry, lingerie and makeup and in the iTunes store and on the Home Shopping Network. Takesian also used Takesian & Co. funds to pay the rent on his personal residence.
He also allegedly failed to file returns for the consulting firm between 2008 and 2011. While his father reported some company earnings on his personal returns, the figures he reported were based on information provided by Takesian, and represented a fraction of Takesian & Co.’s actual income.
Takesian faces a maximum of three years in prison, a year of supervised release and a fine of $100,000 on each count.
Salinas, Calif.: Preparer Elizabeth Calderon, 39, and Esther Sanchez, a.k.a. Trinidad Carrillo, have been indicted on charges connected with filing false returns, theft of government funds, aggravated ID theft, making false statements to federally insured institution and conspiracy. According to the indictment, Calderon is charged with willfully assisting in the preparation and presentation of 13 false federal income tax returns for other taxpayers, among other charges. Calderon and Sanchez, 54, are both charged with conspiring to submit a bank loan application that contained false information and was supported by counterfeited documents.
Baltimore: Bruno Rodriguez, 35, formerly of Hyattsville, Md., has pleaded guilty to conspiring to defraud the U.S. and money laundering.
According to his plea agreement and court documents, from November 2011 to May 2012, Rodriguez helped file fraudulent returns using the stolen IDs of Puerto Rico residents. A co-conspirator who lived in Puerto Rico e-mailed Rodriguez the names, dates of birth and Social Security numbers of residents, including children. Rodriguez split the refunds with the co-conspirator.
Rodriguez gave the e-mails to his wife, Jennifer Rodriguez, who owned Latin Multi Services, a tax prep service in Silver Spring, Md. She used the stolen information to prepare returns that falsely listed the taxpayers as residents of Maryland and included fabricated income and deductions. All of the returns requested refunds and listed bank accounts controlled by Rodriguez and his wife as the recipient bank account for the refunds.
Over the course of the scheme, Bruno Rodriguez caused 291 false returns to be filed with the IRS, resulting in the IRS paying $983,382 in refunds. Rodriguez has agreed to the entry of an order to pay restitution of $983,382.
He faces a maximum of five years in prison for conspiring to defraud the U.S. and 20 years in prison for money laundering. Sentencing is January 5.
Jennifer Rodriguez, 41, previously pleaded guilty to the fraud conspiracy and received a year and a day in prison and was also ordered to pay restitution.
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