WASHINGTON – A federal court in St. Paul, Minn., found Nash Sonibare guilty of criminal contempt for violating a preliminary injunction order entered against him in 2006, the Justice Department announced today. The injunction prohibited Sonibare from preparing federal tax returns and required Sonibare to post a sign at his offices indicating he was not allowed to prepare returns. The court found that Sonibare violated the terms of the injunction beyond a reasonable doubt.
The court concluded that Sonibare prepared or directed others to prepare three tax returns just one month after the court barred him from preparing federal tax returns in 2006. To cover his actions, Sonibare fraudulently stamped or directed others to stamp the returns as "Self-Prepared." Sonibare also violated a provision of the preliminary injunction requiring him to post a sign at his Little Canada and Roseville, Minn., offices informing visitors that he was not permitted to prepare tax returns.
The court’s opinion consistently stated that Sonibare’s testimony and the testimony of his witnesses was neither truthful nor credible. The court also dismissed as unfounded Sonibare’s allegations that the government’s request for an injunction and his prosecution for criminal contempt amounted to harassment or entrapment.
Sonibare now faces up to six months in prison and a $10,000 fine at a future sentencing date.
"Sonibare's criminal contempt conviction should serve as clear notice that the government will vigorously monitor and ensure that injunctions issued against fraudulent tax return preparers are complied with to their fullest exent," said Nathan J. Hochman, Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department’s Tax Division.
Assistant Attorney General Hochman thanked Tax Division trial attorney Michael Pahl for prosecuting the case and Internal Revue Service Agent Nona Bosshart for her investigative work.
Since 2001, the Justice Department’s Tax Division has obtained injunctions against more than 350 tax-fraud promoters and unscrupulous tax preparers. Information about these cases is available on the Justice Department Web site. Information about tax scams and tax return preparer fraud can be found on the IRS Web site.