Perry Hall Tax Preparer Sentenced to over 4 Years in Prison for Filing False Tax Returns
Claimed Fraudulent Business Losses Totaling Over $556,000
Baltimore, Maryland - U.S. District Judge Catherine C. Blake sentenced Obinna Felix Ukwu, age 54, of Perry Hall, Maryland, today to 51 months in prison, followed by one year of supervised release, for 12 counts of aiding in the filing of false tax returns. Judge Blake also ordered Ukwu to pay restitution of $429,392. A federal jury convicted Ukwu on July 16, 2012.
The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein and Special Agent in Charge Rick A. Raven of the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation, Washington, D.C. Field Office.
“Tax practitioners and return preparers have a duty to their clients to prepare tax returns that are accurate and comply with the law. 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 jail time,” said Special Agent in Charge Rick Raven of IRS-Criminal Investigation.
According to evidence presented at the five day trial, for tax years 2006 through 2008 Ukwu prepared and filed false tax returns for three taxpayers, claiming fraudulent business losses totaling, $139,819, $137,410 and $111,018. Ukwu prepared and filed tax returns for another taxpayer claiming a total of $115,552 in fraudulent business losses for tax years 2007 and 2008, and prepared and filed a tax return for a fifth taxpayer fraudulently claiming $52,560 in business losses for tax year 2008. The evidence at trial established additional false tax returns for five other taxpayers and the government argued at sentencing that Ukwu prepared and filed hundreds more false returns based on additional evidence and analysis.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein praised the IRS - Criminal Investigation for its work in the investigation and thanked Assistant United States Attorney Kathleen O. Gavin and Special Assistant United States Attorney Constantine Lizas, a Trial Attorney with the Asset Forfeiture & Money Laundering Section of the U.S. Justice Department’s Criminal Division, who prosecuted the case.