A roundup of our favorite recent tax fraud cases.
Kenner, La.: Tax preparer Christie Robinson, 39, of LaPlace, La., has pleaded guilty to four counts of false statements on returns.
According to court records, Robinson owns and operates the prep business CRR Services and failed to include all of the fees she received for preparation on her own returns. For 2007, 2009, 2010 and 2011 she failed to declare a total of some $315,000. The total taxes due are approximately $104,000.
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. Sentencing is August 17.
Atlanta: Former CPA Thomas D. Ziff has been sentenced to seven months in prison and a year of supervised release and was ordered to pay $47,539 in restitution to the IRS after pleading guilty to one count of filing a false tax return.
According to court documents and information presented in court, from approximately January 2006 through December 2010, Ziff operated a tax preparation and accounting business and during that time was also the trustee of a trust that was associated with the last will and testament of another individual. As the trustee of the trust, Ziff opened a bank account in the name of the trust at Wachovia Bank over which he had sole signatory authority.
While serving as trustee, Ziff embezzled and caused to be transferred approximately $300,000 from the trust bank account to other bank accounts that he controlled. He also failed to report the embezzled funds as income on his federal returns for the years 2008, 2009 and 2010.
New York: Raul D. Kelley, 49, of the Bronx, has been sentenced to two to six years in state prison for submitting forged W2 statements and preparing more than 700 fraudulent returns while acting as an unregistered preparer. Kelley, who pleaded guilty earlier this year, also submitted fraudulent documents and information on his own income taxes to try to steal more than $25,000.
According to the indictment and statements made to prosecutors, Kelley worked for the New York City Transit Authority from 2007 until 2008 as a train operator. After leaving the Transit Authority, he continued to submit forged W2s through the 2012 tax year, claiming thousands of dollars in fraudulent withholdings. In addition, Kelley claimed thousands of dollars in undeserved deductions and credits in an effort to steal more than $25,000 in New York State refunds.
Investigators uncovered additional crimes linked to Kelley’s role as an unregistered tax preparer, including the submission of more than 700 fraudulent New York State personal and corporate income tax returns for tax years 2009 through 2012. These submissions resulted in the theft from the state of $267,425 and the attempted theft of an additional $506,572.
DeSoto, Texas: Preparer Vicki Louise Walker has been indicted on 29 counts of aiding and assisting in the preparation of false income tax returns and three counts of willfully failing to file income tax returns.
According to court documents, Walker, doing business as Vicki Walker Tax Services, in Dallas, is alleged to have prepared numerous returns for tax years 2010 through 2013 on which she reported false items, including false filing statuses, business expenses, capital losses and charitable donations. Walker also allegedly failed to file her own returns with the IRS for tax years 2011 through 2013.
If convicted, she faces a maximum of three years in prison for each count of aiding and assisting in the preparation of false tax returns and a maximum of one year in prison for each count of failing to file her own tax returns. She also faces monetary penalties and restitution.
Selah, Wash.: Preparer Kelly McFarland has been ordered to pay nearly $434,000 for her role in a tax fraud case that stretched across Central Washington, according to published reports. She was also reportedly sentenced to time served.
Authorities told news outlets that McFarland, the last of several co-conspirators in the case, let others use her address to receive mail, as did other defendants. The ringleader in the scheme, Patty Nowlin of Yakima, Wash., was sentenced in February to three years in federal prison, reports added, and was ordered to repay $1.8 million.
Nowlin, who was accused of preparing nearly 500 false returns that claimed more than $2.7 million in refunds, reportedly ran a scheme in which she prepared income tax returns for people using false information to illegally inflate refunds. The scheme reportedly involved listing dependents who did not exist and falsely claiming tax credits. Nowlin also created fake birth certificates, school records and other documents to verify the identity of the fake dependents, according to court documents cited.
St. Louis: Preparer Ricker Brooks has reportedly pleaded guilty to preparing false returns and overstating the business expenses of a client.
The indictment alleged that after the client reviewed the returns that Brooks prepared for her, she thought that the contract labor expense for her business was overstated. Although there was discussion between the two regarding the overstatement, they agreed to file the returns with the overstatement. After the IRS investigated, Brooks prepared 1099s and check schedules that falsified Alliance payments to contract employees. The client provided these false documents to the IRS.
Brooks was indicted on one felony count of conspiracy to defraud the U.S. and two felony counts of aiding and assisting in the preparation of a false income tax return; the client, Zondra Jones, was indicted on one felony count of conspiracy and two felony counts of income tax evasion.
Brooks pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to defraud the U.S. and two counts of aiding and assisting in the preparation of a false income tax return, said news outlets, adding that sentencing is Aug. 23. Jones reportedly pled guilty last November and will be sentenced on May 26.
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