Tax Preparer Sentenced To 10 Years For Fraud
Miguel Vazquez, 45, a native of Puerto Rico and resident of Philadelphia, was sentenced yesterday to 10 years in prison for tax fraud. He was ordered to surrender on July 26, 2012. Vazquez worked as an income tax preparer first for another company, and then created his own tax preparation business called Credit Connections. He prepared, or assisted in the preparation of, 1,654 fraudulent federal income tax returns, for the tax years 2007 through 2009, resulting in the payment of $7,456,470 in refunds, and lied on his own tax returns, failing to pay more than $250,000 in taxes on his illegally gained income. Some of the taxpayers received a portion of the refunds; Vazquez and his runners shared in the refunds as well.
Vazquez employed four recruiters who brought him local clients, as well as the names and social security numbers of their friends and family who lived in Puerto Rico. Vazquez prepared returns for his clients and their friends and family, using fraudulent addresses on many of the returns. Each return contained the false claim that the filer was a business owner, included a Schedule C, and applied for and received a refund based upon an Earned Income Tax Credit, to which the filer was not entitled. Vazquez also provided names and social security numbers to another tax preparer who used the information to prepare false returns and then shared the illicit refunds with Vazquez.
In his personal tax returns, Vazquez falsely and willfully reported an adjusted gross income of $12,500 for tax year 2008 and $15,500 in 2009, which he claimed was generated from Schedule C gross receipts. He knew these claims were false, because he netted approximately $500,000 in income during each of those years. Vazquez used his illegally obtained gains to buy homes and cars.
Vazquez pleaded guilty in February to 52 counts of aiding or assisting in the presentation of false income tax returns, two counts of filing false federal income tax returns, and aiding and abetting. In addition to the prison term, U.S. District Court Judge James Knoll Gardner ordered Vazquez to pay restitution to the IRS in the amount of $1.6 million and a special assessment of $5,400.
The case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigations Division and was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Arlene Fisk.
UNITED STATES ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, EASTERN DISTRICTof PENNSYLVANIA
Suite 1250, 615 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106
PATTY HARTMAN, Media Contact, 215-861-8525