News and Press Releases

BROWARD COUNTY RETURN PREPARER SENTENCED FOR FILING FALSE PERSONAL TAX RETURNS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 5, 2012

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, was sentenced today before U.S. District Court Judge Kathleen M. Williams in connection with criminal tax violations related to his Broward County-based tax preparation business. O’Rourke previously pled guilty 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). Defendant O’Rourke was sentenced to 24 months’ imprisonment, to be followed by 1 year of supervised release. In addition, O’Rourke was ordered to continue to cooperate with the IRS in the filing of corrected tax returns and pay any taxes that may be owed for tax years 2002 through 2006, which according to court records is approximately $358,364.

According to court documents, 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 had been led to believe were owed to O’Rourke. O’Rourke failed to report as part of his gross income at least $1 million he had received from the dual tax return scheme on his personal U.S. Individual Income Tax Returns, Forms 1040, for tax years 2002 to 2006. The tax loss amount is approximately $358,364.

Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division. This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard P. Murad.

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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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