| FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MONDAY, MAY 23, 2011
TDD (202) 514-1888
JUSTICE DEPARTMENT SEEKS TO SHUT DOWN SOUTH FLORIDA TAX PREPARERS
Broward County Pair Claimed Fraudulent Credits and Deductions on Tax Returns
WASHINGTON - The United States has asked a federal court to permanently bar two Broward County, Fla., tax preparers and their business from preparing federal tax returns for others, the Justice Department announced today. The civil injunction suit alleges that Ronald Jerome Scriven, Danesa L. Webb and their business, Tamijah International LLC, prepare returns for customers that report false income and expenses and falsely claim several tax credits, including the first-time-homebuyer credit.
Congress enacted the first-time-homebuyer credit in 2008 to strengthen the real estate market and help the economy. It allowed persons who have not owned a home in the previous three years to claim a credit of up to $8,000 against their federal income taxes if they bought a home after April 8, 2008. Congress later expanded the program to allow current homeowners to claim the credit for a purchase of a new home, under certain conditions. The credit has since expired.
The government complaint, filed in the Southern District of Florida, alleges that the defendants claimed the credit on their customers’ tax returns even though they knew the customers had not bought new homes. The complaint also alleges that the defendants claimed fabricated business deductions and education credits on some customers’ returns, and that they failed to report the proper amount of customers’ income on other returns. At times, according to the complaint, the defendants prepared returns for persons without those persons’ knowledge and charged exorbitant fees for their services.
Return preparer fraud is identified by the IRS as one of the “Dirty Dozen” tax scams taxpayers are urged to avoid. In the past decade, the Justice Department’s Tax Division has obtained hundreds of injunctions to stop the promotion of tax fraud schemes and the preparation of fraudulent returns. Information about these cases is available on the Justice Department website.