BROWARD COUNTY RETURN PREPARER PLEADS GUILTY TO FILING FALSE PERSONAL TAX RETURNS
Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and Jose A. Gonzalez, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division, announced that defendant Thomas Michael O’Rourke, of Plantation, pled guilty today to five counts of filing personal false U.S. Individual Income Tax Returns, Forms 1040, for tax years 2002 to 2006, in violation of Title 26, United States Code, Section 7206(1). At sentencing, O’Rourke faces a maximum statutory penalty of up to three years’ imprisonment on each count. Sentencing is scheduled for December 16, 20011 at 11:00 A.M. in Miami, FL, before U.S. District Judge Kathleen M. Williams.
According to court documents filed in connection with today’s guilty plea, O’Rourke used a fraudulent scheme to enrich himself through the preparation and filing of his clients’ tax returns. Beginning in the late 1990's and through 2008, O’Rourke owned a tax preparation business in Broward County, Florida, through which he fraudulently represented himself to clients and potential clients as a Certified Public Accountant (“CPA”) although he never held such a license. During each of the years 2002 through 2008, O’Rourke prepared two sets of tax returns for his clients. The first return, which he showed to the client, generally reported a refund due to the client. This tax return was not actually filed with the IRS. O’Rourke then prepared a second, false return, and filed it with the IRS through a third party (the “E-filer”) that he had retained to submit returns electronically. This second return showed a larger refund due to O’Rourke’s client. The difference between the expected refund and the larger, fraudulently obtained refund actually paid by the IRS was disbursed by the E-filer to O’Rourke as tax preparation and other fees that the E-filer believed were owed to O’Rourke. O’Rourke failed to report as part of his gross income all of the money he had received from the dual tax return scheme on his personal U.S. Individual Income Tax Returns, Forms 1040, for 2002 to 2006. The loss amount is $358,364.
Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard P. Murad.
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.