4 Tampa Income Tax Preparers Sentenced for Filing False Returns
Many federal criminal prosecutions center on allegations of individuals defrauding, or attempting to defraud, the government itself. As you can probably guess, the feds can be quite harsh when it comes to people suspected of cheating the government out of its money. So even though these kinds of offenses are generally classified as white collar crimes, they still may carry stiff penalties upon conviction.
Defendants Will Owe the IRS $1 Million After Serving Prison Time
Take this recent case from Tampa. On December 22, 2023, U.S. District Judge Virginia M. Hernandez Convington sentenced a female defendant to 2 years in federal prison after she agreed to plead guilty to two criminal charges arising from a scheme to file false income tax returns. According to the court records, this woman was part of a group of four defendants, all of whom entered similar pleas. All four will serve some prison time and collectively owe the government approximately $1 million in restitution.
According to an indictment issued by a federal grand jury in April 2022, the four defendants all worked as third-party income tax preparers for a business in the Tampa area. The indictment charged that the defendants used a variety of illegal tactics to increase their clients’ income tax refunds. For example, the defendants created fictitious businesses for their clients to help them get certain tax credits. Similarly, the defendants claimed “false and fictitious credits for fuel taxes paid and/or education expenses paid to make it appear that the clients were entitled to tax refunds in fraudulently-inflated amounts.” The defendants then filed these false returns with the IRS and claimed a portion of the inflated refunds for themselves.
The female defendant sentenced on December 22 pleaded guilty to charges of “conspiracy to defraud the United States” and “aiding or assisting in the preparation of presentation of false tax returns.” These charges carry maximum prison sentences of 5 and 3 years, respectively. The United States Attorney’s office in Tampa agreed to dismiss two other charges in exchange for the defendant’s guilty plea. Judge Coviington then determined a sentence of 24 months–2 years–was appropriate, to be served concurrently for both charges. Following the defendant’s release from prison, she will still have to serve three years on supervised release (probation) and owe the government $1,006,881 in restitution to the United States Government.
The other three defendants received prison sentences of between 1 and 3 years, according to court records. They are also jointly liable for the $1,006,881 in restitution. All four defendants are also barred from acting as third-party tax preparers in the future.
Contact the Joshi Law Firm Today
Trying to cheat the government is never a good idea. And if you are suspected of committing any form of fraud against the government, you must be prepared to defend yourself in court. Our qualified Orlando federal crimes defense lawyers can help. Contact the Joshi Law Firm, PA, today to schedule a consultation.