| FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WEDNESDAY, JULY 1, 2003
TDD (202) 514-1888
CALIFORNIA COURT ACTS TO STOP TAX RETURN PREPARER
Court Bars Orange County Man From Preparing Returns For Seven Years
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Last Thursday, a federal court in Santa Ana, Calif., barred Joe Gordon Shields from preparing federal income tax returns, and aiding or advising in the preparation of those returns, for the next seven years. The court order, to which Shields agreed, also permanently bars him from "engaging in any fraudulent or deceptive conduct that substantially interferes with the proper administration of the Internal Revenue Code."
Shields is one of five southern California men sued by the Justice Department in March for allegedly preparing for customers tax returns claiming bogus deductions, including false and inflated deductions for charitable contributions, home offices and business expenses.
"People who prepare false returns for others will be stopped and held accountable," said Eileen J. O'Connor, Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Justice Department's Tax Division in Washington. "The Justice Department and the Internal Revenue Service are committed to shutting down tax scams."
Papers filed by the Justice Department in the case cite numerous instances of alleged abuse by Shields and his associates. In one example, Shields allegedly charged a couple $1,500 to prepare their tax return, on which he then allegedly included $1,000 in false, charitable contributions deductions and over $13,000 in bogus employee deductions. According to the Justice Department's suit papers, the IRS examined the return and determined that the couple owes over $8,000 in unpaid taxes and interest. Tax returns prepared by Shields and his associates in a similar manner may have cost the taxpaying public over $31 million, according to an IRS estimate cited in the Justice Department's papers.
More information on the suit, including copies of many of the court papers filed by the Justice Department, may be found at: http://www.usdoj.gov/tax/txdv03148.htm.