WASHINGTON – James A. Mattatall of Torrance, Calif., was sentenced yesterday to six months in prison for violating a permanent injunction, the Justice Department and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced. U.S. District Judge Dean Pregerson sentenced Mattatall to the maximum sentence allowable under law.
In 2004, a permanent injunction was entered which barred Mattatall from preparing tax returns for others and representing persons before the IRS. In September 2009, Mattatall was convicted of criminal contempt following a one-day trial before Judge Dean Pregerson, who had also entered the injunction against Mattatall.
According to evidence presented at trial, Mattatall violated the injunction by continuing to prepare tax returns and represent customers before the IRS after he was enjoined from doing so. Additionally, Mattatall attempted to evade detection by not signing returns he prepared and by using an alias when representing customers before the IRS.
According to statements made by Judge Pregerson at the sentencing hearing, a maximum sentence was important to accomplish the societal interests in fostering respect for the law and deterring others from breaking the tax laws. The court noted that sending a message that those who violate injunctions will face jail time was an important goal of the sentence. Judge Pregerson cautioned Mattatall not to construct an "alternative universe" that justifies disobeying tax laws, while ordinary taxpayers meet their tax obligations in a law-abiding manner.
"The court’s strong sentence shows there are serious criminal consequences to violating injunctions," said John A. DiCicco, Acting Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department’s Tax Division. "The Justice Department is committed to prosecuting any enjoined tax preparer or promoter who violates an injunction."
Acting Assistant Attorney General DiCicco commended the efforts of the IRS-Criminal Investigation Division agents who investigated the case, as well as trial attorney Michael Pahl and Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Conte of the Central District of California, who prosecuted the case.
In the past decade the Justice Department has obtained injunctions against more than 435 tax preparers and tax fraud promoters. Information about these cases is available on the Tax Division Web site.