FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE |
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 2, 2004
TDD (202) 514-1888
COURT BARS SOUTH FLORIDA MAN FROM SELLING BOGUS TRUSTS AND PREPARING FEDERAL TAX RETURNS FOR OTHERS
Louis Ratfield’s Fraudulent Conduct Found to Cost U.S. Treasury $6.4 million
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Justice Department announced today that a federal court in Fort Lauderdale has permanently barred Louis W. Ratfield, of Lake Worth, Florida, from selling a fraudulent tax scheme involving sham trusts. The civil permanent injunction order, entered by Judge Kenneth A. Marra of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, also bars Ratfield from preparing federal income tax returns for others and from representing customers before the IRS. Ratfield was preliminarily enjoined in 2002.
According to papers filed in the case, Ratfield, a former IRS employee, told customers they could use his trusts to get tax deductions for the expenses incurred in being alive. The court found that the loss to the United States Treasury from Ratfield's misconduct was at least $6,452,094.
The Justice Department and the Internal Revenue Service are committed to halting tax fraud schemes and identifying those who participate in them, said Eileen J. OConnor, Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Departments Tax Division.
The court order also requires Ratfield to give the Justice Department any records in his possession or to which he has access that identify the names, addresses, telephone numbers, and Social Security numbers of his customers.
Justice Department trial attorney Robert D. Metcalfe and IRS revenue agent Patricia Grimes handled and investigated this case.
Additional information about the case is available at http://www.usdoj.gov/tax/prtax/txdv02573.htm.
The Justice Department has sought and obtained injunctions against a number of tax-scam promoters and fraudulent-return preparers. Information about these cases is available at http://www.usdoj.gov/tax/taxpress2004.htm. Information about the Justice Department's Tax Division can be found at http://www.usdoj.gov/tax.