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Department of Justice
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, April 9, 2009
Federal Court Blocks Chicago Tax Preparation Firm from Claiming Improper Tax Credits

WASHINGTON - A federal court has barred a Chicago tax preparation firm, El Caminante, Inc. and its principal operator, Maria Colica, from preparing federal income tax returns claiming false tax credits, the Justice Department announced today. The company and Colica agreed to the injunction.

The Government civil injunction complaint filed in the case alleged that Colica fraudulently claimed fuel tax credits for customers who were not entitled to them. The fuel tax credit is available only to taxpayers who operate farm equipment or off-highway business vehicles. Colica allegedly claimed large credits by falsely reporting purchases of huge quantities of gasoline where, in most cases, the cost of the gasoline was greater than the customers’ annual income.

Fuel credit scams were on last year’s Internal Revenue Service’s list of the Dirty Dozen Tax Scams. In the past few years the Justice Department has obtained injunctions shutting down many tax preparers who claim the phony credits on customers’ returns.

Colica also claimed bogus earned income tax credits for her customers, according to the complaint. She allegedly claimed false filing statuses on her customers’ returns to enlarge the size of their credits.

Acting Assistant Attorney General John DiCicco thanked Justice Department trial attorney Grayson Hoffman and Shauna Henline of the Internal Revenue Service's Small Business/Self Employed Division for their efforts in obtaining these injunctions for the government.

In the past decade, the Justice Department’s Tax Division has obtained more than 380 injunctions against tax fraud promoters and dishonest tax return preparers. Information about these cases is available on the Justice Department’s Web site, as is information about the Justice Department’s Tax Division.

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