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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Washington

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, July 11, 2014

Olympia Tax Preparer Pleads Guilty To Filing False Claims

Fraudulent Scheme Targeted First Responders, Including Firefighters And EMTs

An Olympia, Washington tax preparer pled guilty this morning, following his arraignment for a tax fraud scheme in which he falsely claimed tax refunds while victimizing his clients, announced U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan.  KYLE BAXTER, 31, appeared in U.S. District Court in Tacoma, charged with one count of filing a false, fictitious, or fraudulent claim, and admitting to his role in orchestrating the entire three-year scheme.

In his plea agreement, BAXTER admitted that from 2010 through 2013, he represented himself to be a provider of tax preparation services operating under the name “Baxtax.”  BAXTER maintained a website for “Baxtax,” and promoted his services through advertisement in local media, although BAXTER never obtained a Preparer Tax Identification Number, ordinarily required of any person or entity that prepares tax returns for a fee.  During that three-year period, BAXTER, a firefighter, filed tax returns for at least 280 people, many of whom were fellow firefighters, as well as emergency medical technicians and paramedics.  In many filings, BAXTER claimed deductions and credits for which his clients were plainly ineligible, such as child tax credits for clients without children, which had the effect of increasing the refunds paid by the IRS to the clients.  BAXTER provided clients paper copies of tax returns purportedly reflecting their filings.  Unbeknownst to the clients, however, BAXTER actually filed returns with distorted numbers that yielded even larger refunds, and BAXTER secretly diverted significant portions of these refunds to himself.  Over the course of the scheme, BAXTER stole at least $250,000 in taxpayer funds by partially diverting refund payments in this manner.

BAXTER will be sentenced by United States District Judge Robert. J. Bryan on October 3, 2014, at 10:00 a.m.

 Making false and fictitious claims is punishable by up to five years in prison.

The case is being investigated by the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Ehren Reynolds.

Press contact for the U.S. Attorney’s Office is Tessa Gorman at (206) 553-7970 or tessa.gorman@usdoj.gov.

Updated March 9, 2015