Adelphi tax preparer pleads guilty to assisting in the filing of false tax returns

October 9, 2008

Greenbelt, Maryland - Cynthia Poakwa, also known as Cynthia Barbour, age 60, of Silver Spring, Maryland, pleaded guilty today to four counts of assisting in the filing of false tax returns, announced United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein.

“The prosecution of individuals who file false tax returns is a vital element in maintaining public confidence in our tax system. Tax refunds are issued to taxpayers who are entitled to them. IRS-Criminal Investigation will continue to aggressively pursue those who file false tax returns to claim tax refunds for which they are not entitled,” stated C. Andre' Martin, Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge.

According to the plea agreement, from as early as 1999 to at least 2004, Poakwa, owned and operated Elite Tax Consultants, Inc., located on Riggs Road in Adelphi, Maryland which provided individuals and businesses with tax-related services, including preparing and filing federal corporate income tax returns. During that time period, Poakwa assisted in the filing of false tax returns for several trucking companies that hauled produce, livestock, goods and products over public highways by fraudulently claiming a fuel tax credit for fuel used to operate a tractor trailer on public highways. The law provided that corporations could claim a tax credit on their corporate tax return for the purchase and use of fuel, based on the amount of fuel used. The law provided that the Fuel Tax Credit did not apply to “fuel in a highway vehicle registered or required to be registered for use on public highways.” Consequently, the use of fuel in a tractor trailer operating on a public highway did not qualify for the Fuel Tax Credit. In tax years 2002 and 2003 Poakwa claimed a total of $194,245 in fuel tax credits for four trucking companies to which they were not entitled.

Poakwa faces a maximum sentence of three years imprisonment, a fine of $250,000, and one year of supervised release on each of the four counts. U.S. District Judge Roger W. Titus has scheduled sentencing for January 26, 2009.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein thanked the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation for its investigative work. Mr. Rosenstein commended Assistant United States Attorney Bryan E. Foreman, who is prosecuting the case.



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