Justice News

Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Tampa Judge Shuts Down Florida Tax Preparer

WASHINGTON – A federal judge in Tampa, Fla., has permanently barred a Port Richey, Fla., tax preparer and his firm from preparing federal tax returns, the Justice Department announced today. U.S. District Court Judge Elizabeth A. Kovachevich of the Middle District of Florida entered the permanent injunction against Frank Lighty and his firm, Lighty and Associate. Lighty consented to the permanent injunction.

According to the government complaint filed in the case, Lighty prepared federal income tax returns claiming false or inflated deductions for medical expenses, charitable contributions and other items. The tax loss from Lighty’s conduct was alleged to be as much as $6 million. The complaint also alleged that Lighty falsely told customers that he was a former IRS agent and had a Master’s Degree in Tax Administration.

John A. DiCicco, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Tax Division thanked Justice Department trial attorney Michael Pahl for handling the case, and revenue agent Joe Slater of the Internal Revenue Service’s Small Business/Self-Employed Division, who conducted the investigation.

In the past decade the Justice Department has obtained injunctions against more than 400 tax preparers and tax fraud promoters. Information about these cases is available on the Justice Department’s Tax Division Web site at http://www.usdoj.gov/tax/.

09-515