FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 13, 2005
TDD (202) 514-1888
JUSTICE DEPARTMENT SUES TO STOP MASSIVE TAX-REFUND FRAUD AND IDENTITY THEFT BY
TWO FLORIDA TAX RETURN PREPARERS
Orlando Couples Scheme Allegedly Targeted Haitian Immigrants
In Miami-Dade and Broward Counties
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Justice Department today filed suit against Jean-Marie Boucicaut, also known as Jean-Marie Boursiquot, and Marie Thelemarque, both of Orlando, Florida, asking a federal court to bar them from preparing federal income tax returns for others. The suit also seeks to recover up to $772,249 of tax refunds the IRS issued to the defendants customers, much of which the defendants allegedly kept for themselves. The civil injunction suit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida in Fort Lauderdale, alleges that the pair originally from Haiti, who are now U.S. citizens, targeted fellow Haitian immigrants in Broward and Miami-Dade Counties.
The suit alleges that Boucicaut, acting through his current company, Tax Review Corp., which the government also sued, or his former company, Leadership Network Corp., solicits business through direct-mail advertising and through agents visits to prospective customers homes. The defendants or their agents allegedly tell prospective customers they might be entitled to tax refunds and ask them to provide copies of previously-filed returns. According to court filings, Boucicaut then prepares fraudulent amended tax returns reporting fabricated credits and deductions and directs the IRS to send the resulting tax refunds to Boucicauts post office box. The complaint alleges that the defendants fail to give copies of the amended returns to customers and forge customers signatures on the returns and refund checks. The defendants allegedly deposit any refund checks obtained into their own bank account and, in many instances, never give any of the refund to the customers, amounting to what the complaint calls identity theft.
Tax returns contain sensitive personal information that can be used for identity theft if it falls into the wrong hands, said Eileen J. OConnor, Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Departments Tax Division. People should be very particular about whom they trust with this information.
The complaint states that because of the defendants fraudulent returns, the IRS has issued at least 593 refund checks, totaling $772,249. It further alleges the IRS detected before issuing any refunds an additional 2,800 returns which fraudulently claimed more than $3.3 million in refunds.
The suit asks the court to bar the defendants from preparing any tax returns for others. The suit also seeks a judgment to recover funds that the defendants allegedly received from the scheme. The government also seeks an order directing the defendants to provide the government their customers names, telephone and Social Security numbers and mailing and e-mail addresses.
This injunction suit is part of an effort begun in 2001 to stop the promotion of tax scams and the preparation and filing of fraudulent returns. The Justice Department has obtained injunctions against more than 100 promoters and tax preparers since 2001. More information about this and other tax injunction cases can be found at http://www.usdoj.gov/tax/taxpress2005.htm. Information about a recent suit involving a tax scheme targeted at Bosnian immigrants is available at http://www.usdoj.gov/tax/txdv05110.htm. More information about the Justice Departments Tax Division is available at http://www.usdoj.gov/tax/index.html.