The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas has barred Thell G. Prueitt of Kingsland, Texas, from preparing federal tax returns for others and from promoting various tax fraud schemes, said the Justice Department.

The court found that Prueitt promoted his tax schemes through several companies and organizations he operates, including the Grandview Prayer and Healing Retreat Center, the Fresh Start Funding Group, the Fresh Start Funding Group Taxpayer Education Association and Thell G. Prueitt & Friends.

The court found that Prueitt promoted a home-based business tax scheme, advising customers they could claim tax deductions for non-deductible personal expenses, and claiming fraudulent deductions on tax returns he prepared. The court also found that he promoted an ATM and pay phone tax scam, falsely advising customers that they could claim tax credits and deductions based on artificially inflated purchase prices. The suit alleged that the equipment was grossly overvalued to enable large tax deductions and credits.

For years, according to the complaint, Prueitt has promoted a variety of tax fraud schemes, including a sham home-business scheme organized by Renaissance, The Tax People, which was shut down by a Kansas state court in 2004. The government's complaint alleges that after Prueitt left Renaissance, he began promoting similar home-business schemes sold by the HBO Tax Academy and Tax Reduction Institute. The promotional materials are alleged to have falsely claimed that customers could convert non-deductible personal expenses into deductible business expenses and be "audit-proof."

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