Beltsville Tax Preparer Indicted for Making False Claims on His Own Tax Returns and Assisting in the Preparation of Fraudulent Returns for Other Taxpayers
Greenbelt, Maryland - A grand jury indicted Eric B. Morton, age 43, of Beltsville, Maryland, for false claims and aiding and assisting in the preparation of false tax returns, announced United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein. The indictment was returned on April 7, 2008 and unsealed today, upon the arrest of the defendant.
According to the 21 count indictment, Morton claimed tax refunds on his 2003 and 2004 individual income tax returns of $12,721 and $5,252, respectively, knowing that those claims were false. In addition, the indictment alleges that from January 31, 2003 through February 9, 2005, Morton assisted in the preparation of 19 fraudulent tax returns which contained false information about wages, federal income tax withheld, deductions, profit or loss from business and other deductions, credits and refunds to which the taxpayers were not entitled.
Morton faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a fine of $250,000 for false claims and a maximum of three years in prison and a $100,000 fine for each of 19 counts of aiding in the preparation of false tax returns. Morton had his initial appearance in federal district court at 11:30 a.m. today.
Acting Special Agent in Charge Don Fort, IRS Criminal Investigation stated, "While most return preparers provide excellent service to their clients, a few unscrupulous tax preparers file false and fraudulent tax returns to defraud the government, the tax paying public and their own clients. Willfully filing a false tax return is the same as stealing and there are serious consequences."
An indictment is not a finding of guilt. An individual charged by indictment is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at some later criminal proceedings.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein thanked the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation for their investigative work. Mr. Rosenstein commended Assistant United States Attorney Steven M. Dunne, who is prosecuting the case.