News and Press Releases

Wilkerson Sentencing

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 26, 2012

OWNER OF BATON ROUGE TAX PREPARATION SERVICE SENTENCED
AFTER 2 WEEK TRIAL

BATON ROUGE, LA – United States Attorney Donald J. Cazayoux, Jr. announced today that Chief Judge Brian A. Jackson sentenced RONALD WAYNE WILKERSON, 42, of Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

WILKERSON was convicted by a jury on June 1, 2012 of endeavoring to impede the Internal Revenue Service, assisting the preparation of false tax returns, bank fraud, engaging in monetary transactions with criminally derived funds, and money laundering. WILKERSON was sentenced to a term of imprisonment of 92 months in the custody of the Bureau of Prison, a term of 2 years supervised release, and forfeiture of (1) $470,000 already seized as proceeds of the bank fraud and money laundering transactions, (2) the defendant’s interest in the business premises located at 3319 Plank Road which was involved in the criminal activity, and (3) a money judgment in the amount of $485,939.01 which represents the profits WILKERSON received as a result of his convictions for bank fraud and money laundering. Judge Jackson also ordered that WILKERSON pay restitution of $500,959 to HSBC Bank.

During sentencing, Judge Jackson noted that WILKERSON’S fraud on the Internal Revenue Service and HSBC Bank was sweeping and perpetrated on hundreds of poor, un-sophisticated local citizens, which resulted in the taxpayers owing monies to the IRS and HSBC Bank and impaired their credit reports.

The convictions and sentence are a result of WILKERSON causing the preparation of 635 false tax returns, claiming approximately $1,415,388 in false telephone excise tax refunds, to be submitted to the IRS. Based upon the false claims for telephone excise tax refunds, WILKERSON caused the IRS to issue refunds of $119,450. Upon identifying the fraud through proactive data analysis, the IRS refused to refund the remaining false claims of $1,295,938. As a result of the scheme, WILKERSON collected tax preparation fees of approximately $485,939, which funds he attempted to remove from a business bank account on the date that a search of the business premises was conducted for evidence of the scheme.

WILKERSON also submitted many of the 635 false tax returns to HSBC Bank for the purpose of obtaining refund anticipation loans for taxpayers. The bank approved approximately 250 loans and ultimately lost approximately $500,959 as a result of the false tax returns which were supposed to serve as collateral for the refund anticipation loans.

“Return Preparer fraud is a priority for IRS Criminal Investigation and we have committed many resources to investigating and prosecuting cases just like these,” said Jim Lee, Special Agent-in-Charge, IRS-CI, New Orleans Field Office. “Taxpayers should be very selective in choosing a return preparer and have confidence knowing that person will prepare accurate tax returns which will not make fraudulent claims for refunds for which they are not entitled. Return preparer fraud is like a contagious disease, it affects the preparer, the individuals who have filed false information with the Internal Revenue Service, and the banking institutions that provide refund products to the clients,” said Lee. “It is our hope that today’s sentence will send a strong message that tampering with the integrity of our nation’s tax system can result in significant jail time and the forfeiture of both the profits of crime as well as the property which facilitates the commission of the crimes.”

U.S. Attorney Donald J. Cazayoux, Jr., stated, “We will continue to aggressively investigate and prosecute individuals who defraud the IRS and financial institutions. Diverting taxpayer monies to the benefit of corrupt tax preparers will not be tolerated. This investigation is another great example of federal agencies cooperating to combat such illegal activity in our community.”

The investigation of WILKERSON was conducted by the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigations. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Rene Salomon, Jay Thompson, and Leetra Harris.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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