July 23, 2001
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
TAX PREPARER CONVICTED OF PREPARING FALSE
Greenbelt - United States Attorney Stephen M. Schenning and Vicki Duane, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation announced today that a federal jury convicted Walter Alberto Montes, 37, formerly of Adelphi, on 13 counts of knowingly and willfully aiding and assisting in the preparation and presentation of fraudulent tax returns in 1996, and one count of submitting a false claim for a tax refund in 1996, in connection with a tax preparation business which he operated. Montes faces a maximum penalty of 3 years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine for each of 13 counts of preparing a false tax return and 5 years and a fine of $250,000 for the false claims count. Sentencing has been set for October 15, 2001 at 9:30 am before U.S. District Judge Peter J. Messitte.
According to the evidence presented during the almost 2 week trial, Montes operated a tax preparation business called Postal Depot, located at 2053-A University Boulevard in Adelphi, Maryland, that catered primarily to Spanish speakers. More than thirteen taxpayers testified during the trial and more than 250 tax returns were introduced into evidence showing that when Montes prepared the taxpayers' returns he would include false and fraudulent information as to medical expenses, charitable gifts, job expenses and other types of deductions. In almost every instance, the evidence showed that this false information resulted in a refund for the taxpayers, who relied on the return prepared for them by Montes. In addition, a Special Agent from IRS Criminal Investigation, as part of an undercover investigation, posed as a Spanish-speaking taxpayer and went to Montes to have his taxes prepared. Montes again included false information on the return and submitted that return to the Internal Revenue Service, falsely claiming that a tax refund was due.
This case was investigated by the IRS Criminal Investigation. It was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Rod J. Rosenstein and James M. Trusty.
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