Some of our favorite recent tax fraud cases.

Jacksonville, Fla.: Preparer Thomas Bandzul has been sentenced to 18 months in federal prison for wire fraud and been ordered to pay $311,824 in restitution to the IRS for excessive refunds that he had claimed on behalf of clients and excessive refunds that he claimed on his individual returns for two years.

According to court records, from January 2008 through May 2011 Bandzul, a preparer in two local Florida counties, made false claims for deductions and credits on 32 returns on behalf of clients, which inflated the refunds.

As part of a scheme, Bandzul prepared and furnished one return to his clients but then made separate phony claims that he e-filed. By prearranged agreement with his clients, Bandzul was paid a specified fee out of the anticipated refunds. In many cases, he caused the inflated refunds to be paid to him without his clients’ knowledge or consent. He also committed tax fraud on his individual federal returns for 2008 and 2009.

He pleaded guilty in September.

New York: Four preparers have been arrested and charged in connection with preparing and filing fraudulent returns from three locations. The charges include multiple felonies, including grand larceny, criminal tax fraud and offering a false instrument for filing.

The preparers – Vincent Wyche, 66, of the Bronx; Edwin Guerrero, 36, and Yuderquis Guerrero, 40, of Lodi, N.J.; and Miguel Carrasco, 29, of Orlando, Fla. – worked for the tax prep firm Mi Gente Multiservice.

The defendants prepared and filed returns on behalf of clients claiming fictitious expenses and inappropriate deductions to tax bills.

Miami: Five defendants have been indicted on charges stemming from participation in a refund and ID-theft fraud.

Ronald Jerome Scriven, Danesa Latoya Webb, Walter Waitus Pressley, Fritznel Jacques (“Glacier”) and Michael Dwight Brown (a.k.a. “Big Mike”) were each charged with one count of conspiracy to defraud the government with respect to claims. Scriven, Webb, Jacques and Brown were also charged with six counts of misusing Social Security numbers and six counts of aggravated ID theft.

According to allegations, Scriven created various tax prep businesses using his name, the names of co-conspirators or the names of individuals’ stolen IDs. Scriven and Webb obtained EFINs for submitting false returns, and Scriven, Webb, Pressley and Jacques recruited taxpayers and obtained such personal ID information as their names and Social Security numbers to submit false returns to the IRS.

The indictment also alleges that Scriven, Webb and Jacques prepared and filed false 2008, 2009 and 2010 federal income tax returns that claimed phony refunds on behalf of the taxpayers who were recruited or whose IDs they stole. Fees totaling $700,000 were deducted from the refunds and deposited into bank accounts that some of the defendants controlled.

Allegations further maintain that Scriven and Webb prepared refund checks or prepaid debit cards in the names of taxpayers whose names and Social Security numbers were used to file the false returns. Some of the co-conspirators accompanied taxpayers, whose identities they used to file false returns, to cash the refund checks. The defendants then demanded “a substantial portion” of the money from those cashed checks. In the instances where individuals’ stolen IDs were used to file false returns, Scriven and Webb cashed the refund checks or negotiated them for reduced values.

If convicted, the defendants each face a maximum of 10 years’ prison for the conspiracy charge, five years for each count of the misusing an Social Security number and  a mandatory two years’ imprisonment, consecutive to any other prison term, for the aggravated ID theft charges.

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