WASHINGTON – The United States has asked a federal court in Denver to bar Curtis Morris, an Elizabeth, Colo., tax return preparer, and his business, Numbers & Beyond, from preparing tax returns, the Justice Department announced today. Morris prepares fraudulent federal income tax returns seeking large refunds for customers, including one refund claim for $1.7 million, according to the government’s complaint.
The complaint alleges that Morris prepares returns that report bogus income tax withholding based on false claims of receiving Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Form 1099 income. The returns allegedly request fraudulent refunds based on the fake reported withholding. The complaint states that Morris’s scheme is part of a growing trend of filing frivolous federal tax returns and forms to steal from the U.S. Treasury.
According to the government complaint, the IRS catches most frivolous refund requests before reimbursements are issued, but Morris’s scheme has caused the IRS to issue $1.9 million in erroneous refunds. Morris has allegedly sought over $55 million in fraudulent refunds for more than 140 customers in Colorado, California, Arizona, and New Mexico.
"Taxpayers tempted to consider participating in an illegal tax refund scheme should think twice before taking the risk," said John A. DiCicco, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Tax Division. "In addition to risking criminal prosecution, they also risk incurring civil penalties of as much as 20 percent of the amount of their fraudulent refund claim. For a $1.9 million bogus claim like the one alleged in this suit, that’s a penalty of $380,000, and it applies even if, as usually happens, the IRS detects the fraudulent claim but doesn’t issue the refund."
In the past decade, the Justice Department has obtained injunctions against more than 425 tax preparers and tax fraud promoters. Information about these cases is available on the Justice Department’s Tax Division Web site.