TAX PREPARERS DOING BUSINESS AS “INTEGRITY TAX”
PLEAD GUILTY TO CONSPIRACY TO DEFRAUD THE UNITED STATES
Defendants Agree To Permanent Ban On Preparing Federal Tax Returns For Others
GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN – Chad Anthony Chertos, 37, of Ada, Michigan, and Gregory Edward VanDyke, 39, of White Cloud, Michigan, pled guilty to conspiring to defraud the U.S. Department of the Treasury, U.S. Attorney Patrick Miles announced today.
In a plea hearing before U.S. District Judge Robert J. Jonker, Chertos and VanDyke admitted conspiring with one another in a scheme to obtain payment of income tax refunds from the U.S. Department of the Treasury by preparing and filing false federal income tax returns on behalf of certain clients. Between April 2009 and August 2010, the defendants falsely asserted to clients that they could obtain significant tax refunds even if they earned little or no earned income. In some cases, even if their clients actually earned income, the defendants ignored their clients’ true income and prepared tax returns reflecting false and fraudulently-inflated income amounts to obtain a substantial refund. Chertos and VanDyke admitted filing false returns in order to generate higher fees, which were paid from U.S. Treasury refund checks delivered to the defendants.
U.S. Attorney Miles said, “Tax preparation fraud robs the people of the United States of money. Many hardworking and honest taxpayers depend on others to complete their tax forms in compliance with the law. Tax preparers who lie, cheat, and steal betray that trust. Taxpayers should carefully select a tax preparer. If what the preparer is telling you sounds too good to be true, you may be dealing with an unscrupulous person who intends to file false and fraudulent tax returns on your behalf in order to claim substantial fees from your refund.”
The maximum penalty for conspiring to defraud the United States is 10 years in prison. The charges also allow for the imposition of fines and mandatory restitution to the United States. Chertos and VanDyke have agreed that the total amount of restitution for the fraudulent tax refunds is in excess of $225,000.00. The actual sentence will be determined at the discretion of the Court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the advisory U.S. Sentencing Guidelines. Sentencing is scheduled for May 2, 2012.
In addition to the potential penalties for the felony offense, Chertos and VanDyke agreed to be permanently enjoined from preparing or filing, or assisting in or directing the preparation or filing, of any federal tax return or any other federal tax documents or forms for any other person or entity.
This case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation in Grand Rapids. Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher O’Connor is prosecuting the case..