Justice Department Seeks To Shut Down Riverview, Fla., Tax-preparation Office Allegedly Involved In Identity Theft
WASHINGTON - The United States has asked a federal court to shut down a tax-preparation office in Riverview, Fla., the Justice Department announced today. The civil injunction suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Tampa, Fla., alleges that Tyree Middleton, of Palmetto, Fla., operates Middleton Financial Group and Middleton Financial Professional Tax & Accounting Inc. in Riverview and intentionally prepares and files fraudulent federal income tax returns to obtain improper tax refunds.
According to the complaint, Middleton induces potential customers to "get excited" about their tax refunds, asserting that if they "file today," they will "smile today," when Middleton has reason to know that his customers are not entitled to the refunds he claims on their behalf. The lawsuit further alleges that Middleton repeatedly prepared federal tax returns that falsely claimed first-time home buyer credits, underreported income, claimed false business deductions, and claimed false education and earned-income credits.
The complaint further alleges that Middleton stole identities so that he could file income tax returns falsely claiming refunds, and have the refunds deposited into his bank account. According to the complaint Middleton prepared income tax returns for two deceased persons, falsely claiming the same items on each return.
The Internal Revenue Service lists return-preparer fraud and identify theft as two of its "Dirty Dozen" tax scams.
In the past decade the Justice Department's Tax Division has obtained injunctions against hundreds of tax-return preparers and tax-fraud promoters. Information about these cases is available on the Justice Department website.