Tax evasion blotter: “One too many”

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One too many fire; FedEx scam; the bank of me me me; and other highlights of recent tax cases.

Charlotte, North Carolina: Tax preparer Andrivia Wells, 54, was sentenced to 70 months in prison for tax evasion.

From at least 2011 until June 2019, Wells owned and operated the Rush Tax Service preparation business. Between 2013 and 2017, it prepared or had prepared more than 6,000 statements wrongly claiming more than $ 3 million in reimbursements.

Wells and Rush Tax Service received more than $ 1.2 million in fees from customers, with fees taken directly from customer refunds. In many cases, customers weren’t sure how much they were being charged, which often exceeded $ 500.

Wells prepared tax returns for clients from 2013 to 2018 who claimed false reporting statuses, bogus US opportunity tax credits and education credits and bogus fuel tax credits, among others , to inflate federal reimbursements.

She also falsified her own tax returns by underreporting her fees collected for the 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 tax years; in 2018, she did not file any federal returns for herself. Additionally, his 2012 to 2017 returns also mistakenly claimed U.S. Opportunity Tax Credits and Fuel Tax Credits and incorrect reporting status.

In May 2017, after being told she was under investigation and served with a summons for Rush Tax Service cases, a fire was intentionally started. at one of the practice locations, destroying customer files, financial records and computer equipment. Shortly after Wells’ arrest in the summer of 2019, a second fire was intentionally started that destroyed the Rush documents requested in a grand jury subpoena.

In his recent conviction, the court concluded that Wells had interfered with the administration of justice and that it was “one fire too many.”

Wells, aka Tina Smith, Tina Harris, Andrivia Smith and Andrivia Harris, was also ordered to serve a one-year sentence under judicial supervision and to pay $ 3,373,595 in restitution.

Albany, New York: Betty J. Marriott, of Gansevoort, New York, was sentenced to one year of probation and ordered to pay $ 280,413 in restitution, following her conviction on four counts of making false statements.

Her conviction related to business income and rents she earned through a Saratoga County business that places home health aides in patients’ homes. Marriott owned and operated the business until 2016 and collected monthly rents for the business in 2017. She admitted to filing returns in the 2014 to 2016 tax years that underreported business income. .

Following the sale of the business by Marriott in 2016, she also failed in 2016 and 2017 to report the income she received from the rents the company paid her monthly.

Marriott admitted to under-reporting $ 1,019,444, which resulted in a loss of at least $ 280,413 for the government.

Elizabeth Doyle, of Ballston Lake, New York, to whom Marriott sold the company in 2016, also pleaded guilty to filing false statements. Doyle admitted to filing underreported business income tax returns in 2016 and 2017. She admitted to underreporting income of $ 647,263, resulting in a loss of at least $ 94,522 for the government. federal.

Doyle’s conviction is Feb. 16, when she faces up to three years in prison, a fine of up to $ 100,000, and supervised release of up to one year.

Gadsden, Alabama: Tax preparer Jamichael D. Whiteside, 37, has pleaded guilty to preparing false returns on behalf of himself and his clients.

Between the 2016 and 2019 tax years, Whiteside prepared false returns for several ZJ Tax Service clients. He falsified dependent care expenses, education fees and charitable deductions and included fabricated losses for non-existent businesses. Whiteside also underreported his own income in the 2016 and 2017 tax years.

The total tax loss exceeded $ 140,000.

Baltimore: Joseph Kukta of Laurel, Delaware, was sentenced to 42 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, for interstate transportation of stolen goods and tax evasion in connection with his theft and resale of goods shipped by commercial courier service.

From 2007 to July 2019, Kukta worked at a FedEx facility in Seaford, Delaware, where he oversaw the operation of the facility and earned an annual salary of over $ 92,000. He admitted that from 2009 to June 2019, he stole packages shipped via FedEx and resold the items to co-accused Saurabh Chawla at around 50% of the item’s retail price. Kukta then transported the stolen items to a relative in Chawla in Maryland.

From 2009 to 2019, Kukta received over $ 1,880,000 in illegal proceeds for the sale of stolen goods valued at at least $ 3,250,000.

Kukta admitted that he failed to report this income on his joint annual federal income tax returns, resulting in a US tax loss totaling $ 660,439.

To conceal the income, Kukta provided false information to two banks when they asked why he was receiving money from a company controlled by Chawla. Kukta falsely told bank officials that he was selling items from his father’s estate. Kukta also provided false information to the IRS during a correspondence audit, claiming that the items he sold on eBay in 2014 were from his father’s estate.

Kukta was also ordered to pay $ 1,101,743.91 in restitution and confiscate $ 1,880,000.

Chawla, of Aurora, Colorado, had previously been sentenced to 66 months in prison for conspiracy, interstate transportation of stolen goods and tax evasion. Chawla was also ordered to pay $ 713,619 in restitution to the IRS and confiscate a car and $ 2,308,062.61 on accounts held in his name and on the sale of property in Colorado.

Boston: Former bank manager Christian Zynga has pleaded guilty to falsely inflating federal income tax refunds and diverting some of those refunds to accounts controlled by him and others.

From 2012 to 2018, Zynga, formerly of Everett, Massachusetts, and an alleged conspirator presented the latter as a tax expert, particularly for the Congolese community of Greater Boston. It is alleged that until 2017, they passed their clients ‘information to a legitimate tax professional and, to inflate federal refunds, provided that professional with false information regarding their clients’ dependents, child care expenses. children and business income and losses. They then allegedly arranged for the refunds to be split between the clients’ bank accounts and the accounts they and their conspirators controlled.

From 2017 to 2018, Zynga and his conspirator reportedly prepared customer statements themselves while continuing to inflate refunds by adding false information to statements and diverting some of the refunds to themselves or to accounts they or their co-conspirators controlled.

Among other schemes, Zynga, who worked as a bank manager, opened accounts in other people’s names for receiving fraudulent federal refunds. He also provided the names and Social Security numbers of an associate’s children so that they could be falsely listed as dependents on the returns.

Zynga’s sentencing is February 17. Conspiracy to defraud the United States is punishable by five years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $ 250,000 or double the gross gain or loss.

Durham, North Carolina: Tax preparer Andrea Pasley was sentenced to 20 months in prison for conspiring to defraud the IRS.

From 2012 to 2017, Pasley plotted with Karen Jones and Audrey Odom prepare fraudulent statements for clients. The returns claimed bogus education credits or dependents or manipulated clients’ income to qualify for larger income tax credits. Some clients were charged up to $ 3,000 for tax preparation. The conspirators caused a tax loss of approximately $ 1.2 million.

Pasley was also ordered to serve three years of supervised release and to pay some $ 1,264,493 in restitution in the United States.

Jones and Odom pleaded guilty and were convicted earlier this year.


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