LOCAL INCOME TAX PREPARER PLEADS GUILTY TO FILING FALSE CLAIMS FOR INCOME TAX REFUNDS AND THEFT OF GOVERNMENT FUNDS
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 04, 2012
Public Affairs Officer
CINCINNATI, OHIO – Sylver Gunn, a/k/a “Sylver Karatz”, 27, of Cincinnati, Ohio, pleaded guilty to one count of filing false claims for fraudulent income tax refunds from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and one count of theft of government funds. On each count, Gunn faces a maximum prison sentence of five years, and a fine of up to $250,000 or twice the gain or loss from the fraud.
Carter M. Stewart, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio Darryl Williams, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Criminal Investigation, Cincinnati Field Office, Barry McLaughlin, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Inspector General, Chicago Field Office, and Michael D. Herald, Compliance & Safety Operations Manager, Cincinnati Metropolitan Housing Authority, announced the guilty plea entered before Senior U.S. District Judge Herman J. Weber.
According to court documents, between January 2009 and February 2010 Sylver Gunn filed at least 24 false claims for income tax refunds based on fraudulent federal income tax returns filed with the IRS, totaling at least $100,287.
Gunn prepared and filed the false claims for income tax refunds through her employment as an income tax preparer at Instant Tax Service located at 7685 Montgomery Road, Cincinnati, Ohio and 5717 Glenway Avenue, Cincinnati, Ohio.
Gunn recruited individuals she knew in the Cincinnati area to use her to prepare and file income tax returns for them. In order to fraudulently claim income tax refunds for her clients that they were not entitled to, Gunn used fraudulent Forms W-2 and fraudulent Schedule C business information with false income amounts to qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit. By doing so, Gunn was able to maximize her income tax preparation fees. In addition, Gunn split the amount from the fraudulent income tax refund claims with her clients.
In late 2005, Gunn received public assistance from the Cincinnati Metropolitan Housing Authority (CMHA), which is subsidized by funds they receive from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The public assistance Gunn received was a rental subsidy to assist Gunn with paying her rent. This is commonly referred to as a Section-8 subsidy. In order to receive this subsidy, Gunn was required to provide true and accurate information and to report all of her income and assets in order for CMHA to determine her benefit amounts.
Between April 2008 and December 2010, Gunn failed to fully disclose her income and assets to CMHA. Specifically, Gunn did not disclose a bank account which contained deposits of more than $20,000, which would have made her ineligible for Section-8 housing subsidies. In addition, Gunn made false representations regarding her income and assets on the required CMHA/HUD forms for the Section-8 rental subsidy program.
As a result, Gunn embezzled government funds totaling $18,299 from HUD.
Gunn was released on bond and her sentencing is scheduled for July 12, 2012.
Stewart commended the cooperative investigation by special agents of IRS-Criminal Investigation, HUD-OIG investigators, and CMHA as well as Senior Litigation Counsel Anne L. Porter, who is prosecuting the case.
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