TAX PREPARER SENTENCED TO 18 MONTHS IMPRISONMENT FOR PREPARING FALSE TAX RETURNS
BOSTON, MA - A Boston man was sentenced yesterday in federal court for preparing over 100 false tax returns on behalf of numerous taxpayers over an extended four year period.
United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz and Susan Dukes, Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation - Boston Field Office, announced that EDDY EKANEM, 49, of Lowell, MA, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Patti B. Saris to18 months imprisonment, to be followed by one year of supervised release during which time he may not prepare tax returns for third parties. EKANEM pled guilty in December 2009 to 22 counts of aiding and assisting in the prepartion of false tax returns.
At the earlier plea hearing, the prosecutor told the Court that had the case proceeded to trial the Government’s evidence would have proven that from 2001 and continuing through 2005, EKANEM owned and operated a tax preparation service called Ekanem Tax Services located in Boston, Mass. EKANEM held himself out as an experienced tax preparer who, for a fee, could assist taxpayers in obtaining tax refunds that other tax preparers could not obtain. However, in order to obtain greater tax refunds for his clients than they were entitled to receive, EKANEM inserted false and fabricated information into taxpayers Form 1040/1040X returns. This false and fabricated information included various false and/or inflated deductions and credits, including claims for unreimbursed medical/dental expenses, unreimbursed employee expenses, including job travel, charitable contributions and other miscellaneous deductions including deductions for work clothes, uniforms and shoes. As a result, many of EKANEM’s clients not only had to pay back their improper refunds, but also ended up owing back taxes, interest and penalties.
U.S. Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz said, “With tax season upon us, this case should remind the public to beware of tax preparers who promise results that are too good to be true. Mr. Ekanem’s scheme not only defrauded the IRS, but cost honest people money in back taxes, interest and penalties. This sentence should serve as notice to any tax preparer with criminal intent, that we will continue to aggressively pursue and prosecute anyone who takes advantage of honest, hard working people.”
The case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service. It is was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney James P. Dowden of Ortiz’s Economic Crimes Unit.