FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
MONDAY, MARCH 21, 2005
TDD (202) 514-1888
HOUSTON PUBLIC WORKS EMPLOYEE ARRESTED, CHARGED WITH TAX FRAUD
Defendant Allegedly Prepared False Tax Returns for Clients
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Eileen J. OConnor, Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Departments Tax Division, Michael T. Shelby, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Texas, and Nancy Jardini, Chief, Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division, today announced the arrest of Jerome J. Harris. On March 16, 2005, in Houston, Texas, a federal grand jury returned an indictment charging Mr. Harris with preparing fraudulent income tax returns (26 U.S.C. §7206(2)).
People should make sure the tax return preparer they select is both knowledgeable and trustworthy, said Assistant Attorney General Eileen J. OConnor. Return preparers who prepare false or fraudulent returns put themselves and their clients at serious risk of civil penalties and, in appropriate cases, criminal prosecution.
The indictment alleges that Mr. Harris was a full-time employee of the Department of Public Works and Engineering for the City of Houston and that he also owned and operated Jays Bookkeeping and Tax Service, located at his residence in Missouri City, Texas. It alleges that Harris prepared at least 23 fraudulent federal income tax returns, which falsely reported filing status, dependents, Schedule C businesses, gross income, and expenses, in addition to claiming tax refunds totaling approximately $70,348.
If convicted, Mr. Harris faces a maximum potential sentence on each charge of three years of imprisonment followed by up to one year of supervised release, a $250,000 fine, and liability for the costs of prosecution.
The charges contained in the indictment are only allegations. In the American justice system, a person is presumed innocent unless and until he or she is proven guilty in a court of law.