News and Press Releases

Florida Tax Preparer Sentenced to Federal Prison on Charges of Stolen Identity and Tax Refund Fraud

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 23, 2012

Ernst Pierre, a Port St. Lucie, Fla., tax preparer, was sentenced today to 51 months in federal prison for wire fraud and aggravated identity theft, the Justice Department and Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) announced. Pierre was charged with a scheme to file false federal income tax returns using stolen identity information. Pierre was also ordered to pay $266,000 in restitution to the IRS.

According to the indictment and Pierre’s admissions as part of his guilty plea, from October 2009 through May 2011, Pierre filed false tax returns for clients of Tax Max, a Port St. Lucie tax return preparation business he owned and operated. Pierre obtained the names and Social Security numbers of relatives of clients for whom he had prepared and submitted federal income tax returns and then fraudulently used those names and Social Security numbers as “dependents” on other client tax returns and on his own tax return. Pierre used these dependents to fraudulently inflate tax refunds.

Mr. Ferrer thanked the IRS-CI for their work on this case. The case was prosecuted by Tax Division Trial Attorneys Justin K. Gelfand and Thomas J. Krepp, with the assistance of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of Florida.

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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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