WASHINGTON – The United States has sued a Port Richey, Fla., tax preparer, Frank Lighty, and his tax-preparation firm – Lighty & Associates Inc. – seeking to bar them permanently from the tax preparation business, the Justice Department announced today. The civil injunction suit was filed in Tampa with the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida.
According to the government complaint, Lighty prepares federal income tax returns for hundreds of individual customers. The complaint alleges that Lighty claims false or inflated deductions for medical expenses, charitable contributions and other items. In one example cited in the complaint, Lighty falsely claimed almost $13,000 in charitable contributions when receipts that his customers had given him showed charitable contributions of only $2,500. According to the complaint the tax loss from Lighty’s misconduct could be as much as $6 million.
The complaint also alleges that Lighty falsely represented to customers that he is a former IRS agent and has a Masters Degree in Tax Administration.
"Tax preparer fraud is a serious problem," said John A. DiCicco, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Tax Division. "The IRS and Justice Department are committed to putting fraudulent preparers out of business. Taxpayers should choose their preparer carefully and review their return closely before signing, to ensure it is correct."
In the past decade, the Justice Department has obtained injunctions against more than 380 tax return preparers and tax-fraud promoters. Information about these cases is available on the Justice Department Web site.