On Friday, we posted a review here of sentences imposed on defendants in 2014 for Foreign Bank Account, Tax Evasion, and Employment Tax crimes. In this post, we review sentences imposed on defendants in cases involving False Tax Returns and Tax Return Preparers.
False Tax Returns
Liquor store operator Bashar Saroki had pleaded guilty to filing a false tax return for 2009 and offering drug paraphernalia for sale. Despite reporting very little income in 2009, from 2007 to 2011 Mr. Saroki had sold more than $1 million in cutting agents used to dilute narcotics from his home and the Golden Star Party Store in Detroit. Mr. Saroki was sentenced to 30 months in prison and one year supervised release. [DOJ press release here].
Benjamin Green, III, had been convicted by a Connecticut jury of making a false claim against the U.S. and obstructing the administration of internal revenue laws. Mr. Green filed his 2008 individual tax return claiming a fraudulent Original Issue Discount (“OID”), where he claimed significant amounts of OID interest income and federal tax withholdings in order to obtain a tax refund of over $600,000. Mr. Green later attempted to hinder the IRS’s efforts to collect the wrongly-issued refund by, among other things, hiding property in a nominee entity. Mr. Green was sentenced to 51 months in prison with three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $582,074.50 in restitution. [DOJ press release here].
New Jersey roofing contractor Kenneth Morton, of Kenal Enterprises LLC, had pleaded guilty for filing a false return in tax years 2007, 2008, and 2009. Rather than deposit checks for his business in a business account, Mr. Morton cashed approximately $1 million in checks per year at a check cashing agency. Mr. Morton was sentenced to one year and one day in prison and one year of supervised release and ordered to pay $241,412 in restitution. [DOJ press release here].
Steven Frank Boitano, of Boitano, Sargent & Lily in California, had pleaded guilty to failing to file tax returns for 2005 through 2007 and then was found guilty by a jury for filing false returns for 2001 through 2003. Despite being a tax return preparer and certified public accountant, Mr. Boitano failed to file personal tax returns from 1991 through 2007. Only after an IRS audit was commenced did he file returns for the years 2001, 2002, and 2003, and in those returns, Mr. Boitano claimed to have made tax payments, which he never actually made, that resulted in a false claim for a refund. Mr. Boitano was sentenced to 41 months in prison and ordered to pay over $180,000 in restitution. [DOJ press release here].
Tax Return Preparers
Massachusetts tax return preparer Michael Edwards, of Boston Financial Associates, had pleaded guilty to obstruction and wire fraud for misleading an IRS auditor who was reviewing one of his client’s returns. He had given the auditor false documentation that would appear to support the returns that were being investigated. Mr. Edwards also pleaded guilty to having misappropriating nearly $800,000 in tax refunds from two of his clients. Mr. Edwards was sentenced to 36 months in prison and three years of supervised release and ordered to pay restitution of $573,518. [DOJ press release here].
New York tax return preparer Ranti Azeez-Taiwo, of Lot Associates Inc. in Staten Island, was found guilty by a jury of 16 counts of assisting in the preparation of false income tax returns for clients for the tax years 2006 through 2010. Without his clients’ knowledge, Mr. Azeez-Taiwo prepared returns that claimed false expenses and charitable donations, which caused, in some cases, the clients to pay fines and interest to the IRS because of the false returns prepared by Mr. Azeez-Taiwo. Mr. Azeez-Taiwo was sentenced to 18 months in prison and one year of supervised release and ordered to pay $24,802 in restitution. [DOJ press release here].
Georgia tax return preparer Irene Tamika Smith, of Quick Tax, conspired to file false tax returns by purchasing other people’s identities that she then sold to others who used the identities to claim false dependents on tax returns in order to obtain a higher refund. Ms. Smith was sentenced to 33 months in prison and ordered to pay $566,171 in restitution. [DOJ press release here].
Detrick and Natashia Tucker, husband and wife owners of T&T Express Tax, a tax return preparation business in Georgia, had pleaded guilty to assisting in the preparation of false returns and conspiring to defraud the government by filing false returns. As the main tax preparer at the business, Ms. Tucker prepared returns with inflated refunds by incorrectly claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit and creating false business information, for the purpose of securing more clients for the business. Mr. Tucker had obtained an IRS electronic filing number for the business and allowed Ms. Tucker to use this number to file false returns. Ms. Tucker was sentenced to 46 months in prison and ordered to pay over $1.4 million in restitution. Mr. Tucker was sentenced to one year and one day in prison and ordered to pay about $66,000 in restitution. [DOJ press release here].
Arizona tax return preparer Margarita Gomez, of M & M Tax Service, had pleaded guilty to impeding the administration of internal revenue laws. Ms. Gomez had caused to have filed, sometimes without identifying herself as the return preparer, returns that claimed false refunds, which she had directed to be transmitted to her. She intentionally solicited clients who did not have a legal status to work or live in the U.S. and prepared false W-7 forms and other documentation. Ms. Gomez was sentenced to 30 months in prison and ordered to pay $200,408 in restitution. [DOJ press release here].