WASHINGTON – Marcel J. Toto-Ngosso of Silver Spring, Md., was sentenced to 70 months in prison today for preparing and filing false tax returns in connection with a scheme to generate fraudulent tax refunds for his clients, the Justice Department and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced. U.S. District Judge Roger W. Titus also ordered Toto-Ngosso to pay $238,788.25 in restitution.
In June 2009, following a four-day trial in Greenbelt, Md., Toto-Ngosso was convicted of 17 counts of aiding and assisting in the preparation and filing of false tax returns. According to the indictment and evidence introduced during trial, Toto-Ngosso ran a tax preparation business from his home. From at least 1998 through 2007, Toto-Ngosso prepared false tax returns for clients claiming fraudulent deductions and adjustments, including false dependents, inflated charitable contributions, and false unreimbursed employee expenses, such as vehicle expenses, which he knew his clients were not entitled to claim.
According to evidence introduced at trial, Toto-Ngosso obtained the names and social security numbers of individuals, which he later sold to his clients as dependents and qualifying persons for $500 to $800 each. Toto-Ngosso then used these names and social security numbers on his clients’ tax returns to secure larger refunds.
According to evidence introduced at trial, after Toto-Ngosso learned he was under investigation by the IRS, he attempted to obstruct the investigation by telling his clients to lie about the information that he reported on their tax returns.
"As today’s sentence shows, fraudulent tax return preparers face serious consequences, including jail time," said John A. DiCicco, Acting Assistant Attorney General of the Tax Division. "This case also demonstrates why taxpayers should carefully review their individual income tax returns before signing and filing their returns with the IRS."
"Tax return preparers help Americans with one of their biggest financial transactions each year. We must ensure that all preparers are ethical and provide good service," said IRS Criminal Investigation Chief Eileen Mayer. "Today’s sentence signals our determination to ensure the tax preparation industry is on board with our overall goals to strengthen the tax system."
Two associates of Toto-Ngosso, Maude H. Veney and Francois B. Zame, testified for the government at his trial. Veney pleaded guilty to conspiracy to file false claims and was sentenced to 18 months of probations by Judge Titus in September 2009. Zame pleaded guilty to aiding or assisting in filing a false tax return and was sentenced by Judge Titus to five months in prison in September 2009.
Acting Assistant Attorney General DiCicco thanked the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Greenbelt, Md., and commended IRS Criminal Investigation special agents who investigated the case, as well as Tax Division trial attorneys Jorge Almonte and Tino Lisella who prosecuted the case.