The United States has asked a federal court to bar three Philadelphia-area tax preparers from preparing federal tax returns for others, the Justice Department announced today. According to the government complaint in the civil injunction suit, defendants Deron Joe, Edmund Dassin and James Tokpawhiea are Liberian nationals who are legal permanent residents of the United States. The suit alleges that most of the customers of their business, Urban Tax Professionals, are also from Liberia and were referred to the defendants by family or friends.
According to the complaint, the defendants have repeatedly prepared fraudulent federal income tax returns that intentionally understate their customers’ tax liabilities. They are alleged to have falsely claimed the first-time-homebuyer credit and the earned-income tax credit in order to claim large tax refunds. According to the complaint, Joe and Dassin told one of their employees to claim the first-time-homebuyer credit on every return he prepared. The complaint also alleges that the defendants claimed false dependents and fabricated deductions for employee business expenses.
The complaint states that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has disallowed at least $1.4 million in tax credits claimed by the defendants on customer returns.
Claiming bogus tax refunds is one of the IRS’s “Dirty Dozen” tax scams for 2012. In the past decade, the Justice Department’s Tax Division has obtained injunctions against hundreds of tax-fraud promoters and unscrupulous tax return preparers. Information about these cases is available on the Justice Department website.