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Two tax preparers prosecuted in separate unrelated cases for filing fraudulent returns

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 30, 2014

 

DENVER – U.S. Attorney John Walsh and IRS Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge Stephen Boyd announce the prosecution of return preparers for fraudulently preparing false tax returns.  As another filing season comes to an end, Federal officials remind those who prepare and file fraudulent tax returns, they will be criminally prosecuted.  Recent return preparer cases prosecuted in the District of Colorado include the following: 

Austin Ray, Age 46, of Denver CO and Anne Rasamee, Age 29, of Stockton CA, where arrested last week on charges of conspiracy to defraud the United States and preparing fraudulent tax returns.  Ray and Rasamee were indicted by a federal grand jury in Denver on April 10, 2014 which remained sealed until their arrests.  Ray was arrested in Denver and had his initial appearance and arraignment last week.  He remains in custody of the U.S. Marshals.  Rasamee was arrested in Stockton where she had her initial appearance on April 22, 2014 and was released on bond.  Her arraignment is scheduled for May 7, 2014 in Denver. 

Ray and Rasamee owned and operated Cheapertaxes LLC, a tax preparation business in Colorado.  Beginning in March 2006 through April 2010, they conspired to defraud the IRS by preparing fraudulent income tax returns which containing false income and deductions, for the purpose of obtaining inflated tax refunds for their clients.  They falsified itemized deductions on Schedule A, business losses on Schedule C and personal exemptions. 

To further conceal the scheme, they would list a third party who had not prepared the fraudulent tax return as the return preparer on the client’s return.  Ray and Rasamee had the taxpayers refunds deposited into Cheapertaxes’s bank account and after deducting their fees pay the difference to the taxpayers. At times, they failed to pay their client’s the balance of the refunds.  Rasamee was charged with one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States and thirty counts of preparing fraudulent tax returns.  Ray was charged with one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States and five counts of preparing fraudulent tax returns.  The defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.  This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Anna Edgar.

In a separate case, Lance McCuistion, age 46, of Thornton CO, pled guilty on April 28, 2014 to one count of preparing a fraudulent tax return.  He was charged by an Information on February 20, 2014 waiving his right to be charged by a federal grand jury. 

McCuistion owns and operates LM Tax Services, a tax-preparation business in Thornton, CO.  From 2007 through 2009, he prepared and filed at least 1600 tax returns for which at least 18 clients he falsely inflated their Schedule A deductions, resulting in refunds greater than his clients were entitled. False deductions included charitable contributions, unreimbursed business expenses, and child care expenses.  The tax loss relevant to his offense is $70,536.

IRS CI Special Agents conducted an undercover operation during which McCuistion prepared a tax return falsely overstating deductions and he openly discussed his fraudulent return preparation.  Following the execution of a search warrant at his home and business, McCuistion admitted to the special agents that he had filed returns with false charitable contributions.   Furthermore, he also approached several taxpayers during their audit process to discuss false items on their returns to further conceal the fraud.  This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Suneeta Hazra.

Conspiracy to defraud the United States carries a penalty of not more than 5 years in federal prison, and a fine of up to $100,000, per count.  Preparing a false tax return carries a penalty of not more than 3 year imprisonment, and a fine of up to $250,000, per count. 

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