News and Press Releases

MIAMI-DADE FEDERAL INCOME TAX RETURN PREPARER SENTENCED FOR TAX PREPARATION FRAUD SCHEME

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 2, 2010

Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and Daniel W. Auer, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service (IRS) , Criminal Investigation Division, announced that defendant Tashanna McFarland, 40, of Miami Gardens, FL, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Patricia A. Seitz to 18 months in prison, to be followed by one year of supervised release. In addition, McFarland was ordered to pay $92,373 in restitution to the IRS.

On August 12, 2010, McFarland pled guilty to three counts of aiding and assisting in the preparation and presentation of fraudulent individual income tax returns, in violation of Title 26, United States Code, Section 7206(2), one count of filing her own false individual income tax return, in violation of Title 26, United States Code, Section 7206(1), and one count of failure to file an individual income tax return, in violation of Title 26, United States Code, Section 7203. The intended tax loss to the government exceeded $183,000.

As set forth during her guilty plea, during the years 2005 to 2007, McFarland operated a tax preparation business at the Liberty Flea Market, located at 7900 NW 27th Avenue, Miami, FL. The IRS initiated an investigation after learning that a large number of McFarland's clients were claiming fuel tax credits on their tax returns. IRS 1040 Form 4136 allows taxpayers to receive credits from the IRS for the taxes that they paid for the purchase of gasoline if they used that gasoline for an off-highway purpose, such as the operation of farm equipment.

The investigation, which included the interviews of many of McFarland’s clients, found that except for one taxpayer who used a small amount of gasoline for his car wash business, none of McFarland’s clients who claimed fuel tax credits had purchased gasoline for off-highway use and, in fact, some did not own or drive a car, therefore, had not purchased any gasoline at all.

In many instances, the number of gallons that McFarland claimed that the taxpayer had purchased would have cost more to purchase than the gross income claimed by the taxpayer for that year. On her own 2004 individual income tax return, McFarland claimed that she purchased an amount of gasoline that would have cost more to purchase than the gross income that she reported for that year.

Lastly, in 2006, McFarland had gross income of more than $179,000, but she failed to file a federal income tax return.

Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert J. Lehner.

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A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.

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