FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
TUESDAY, AUGUST 17, 2004
TDD (202) 514-1888
OHIO TAX RETURN PREPARER GUILTY OF TAX FRAUD,
MONEY LAUNDERING, AND MAIL AND WIRE FRAUD
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Eileen J. OConnor, Assistant Attorney General for the Tax Division, U.S. Department of Justice, and Gregory G. Lockhart, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio announced that late yesterday at the federal courthouse in Columbus, Ohio, a jury returned guilty verdicts against Christopher M. Streifender on charges of mail fraud (18 U.S.C. §1341)(2 counts), wire fraud (18 U.S.C. §1343), money laundering (18 U.S.C. §1956)(6 counts), and aiding and assisting in the preparation of fraudulent tax returns (26 U.S.C. §7206(2))(13 counts).
Mr. Streifender, age 53, of Columbus, Ohio, faces maximum sentences totaling 114 years imprisonment, $4.5 million in fines, and costs of prosecution. No date for sentencing was set.
Scheming to hide income from the IRS is not a great plan unless your goal is to risk losing your money and going to prison, said Assistant Attorney General Eileen J. OConnor. People considering a proposal to reduce their taxes should seek advice from an honest tax professional who doesnt stand to profit from the plan.
The IRS energetically pursues the investigation of unscrupulous return preparers who abuse the trust of their clients and abuse the American system of taxation, said IRS Criminal Investigation Chief Nancy Jardini.
During the trial, the jury heard evidence that Mr. Streifender, a tax return preparer, prepared numerous fraudulent tax returns for his clients. As a part of a scheme to create false deductions for his clients, Mr. Streifender solicited investments from his clients into purported sale-leaseback agreements, which he represented would allow the clients to purchase property from a third party and generate a return on their investment by leasing the property back to the original owner. In fact, the agreements were fraudulent, and Mr. Streifender kept the monies he obtained from his clients. He used the money to pay previous clients and for his own benefit.
The jury heard evidence that Mr. Streifender defrauded at least four clients, wrongfully obtaining from $12,500 to $25,000 from each client. He also allegedly laundered the funds obtained through a bank account held in a nominee name.
In addition to the guilty verdicts, the jury acquitted Mr. Streifender on three counts of mail fraud, four counts of money laundering, four counts of aiding and assisting the preparation of fraudulent tax returns, and obstruction of justice.
Assistant Attorney General OConnor thanked Tax Division Trial Attorneys David Williams and Shawn Noud, who prosecuted the case. She also thanked the special agents of the Internal Revenue Service, whose assistance was essential to the successful investigation and prosecution of the case.