| FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
THURSDAY, JULY 14, 2011
TDD (202) 514-1888
FEDERAL COURT PERMANENTLY SHUTS DOWN IOWA TAX PREPARERS
Court Finds Des Moines-Area Couple Engaged in Widespread Misconduct and Fraud
WASHINGTON - A federal court has permanently barred Howard Musin, his wife Jill Schwartz-Musin and their three companies from preparing federal tax returns for others, the Justice Department announced today. The three businesses named in the court's civil injunction order are SSC Services Inc., M-S Services Inc. and Schwartz's Systems Corporation. Trial evidence showed that the Musins reside in Clive, Iowa.
Following an eight-day trial, U.S. District Court Judge John A. Jarvey found that the defendants engaged in a wide variety of misconduct in preparing tax returns for their customers, many of which were distributors for Shaklee Corporation, a large multi-level marketing firm. According to court documents, the couple improperly claimed business expense deductions on customers' returns for costs of personal items. Court documents also state that the Musins attempted to hide their improper deductions, including disguising nearly $70,000 in personal cattery expenses for a customer who bred cats as a hobby by listing them as business expenses of the customer's computer consulting business.
According to evidence presented at trial, Schwartz-Musin worked for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) from 1972 to 1978, and for part of that time she was a criminal investigator. The complaint alleges that Schwartz-Musin became a tax return preparer in 1982 and, in 2000, pleaded guilty to one criminal count of obstructing the administration of the tax laws. The court found that, the earlier criminal conviction notwithstanding, the defendants created and submitted a backdated, false form to the IRS during a customer audit in 2006 in a fraudulent attempt to justify an improper deduction.
The case was investigated by IRS Revenue Agents Jean Lane and Kathleen Roberts, and was handled by Tax Division attorneys Miranda Bureau, Sean Beaty and Ann Reid.
In the past decade, the Justice Department's Tax Division has obtained injunctions against hundreds of unscrupulous tax return preparers and tax scam promoters. More information about these cases is available on the Justice Department website.