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News Release
U.S. Department of Justice
Peter F. Neronha
United States Attorney
District of Rhode Island

May 13, 2013

Rhode Island Tax Preparer Sentenced to Federal Prison for Violating Court Order Barring Him from Preparing Tax Returns and Tax Evasion

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Michael Brier, 50, owner of Refunds Now Inc., a tax preparation firm based in Providence, R.I., was sentenced on Friday to 27 months in federal prison for violating a federal judge’s order permanently barring him from preparing tax returns for others, and for underreporting more than $1.1 million dollars in income between 2004 and 2009, and failing to pay nearly $400,000 in federal taxes, announced United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha and William P. Offord, Special Agent in Charge of the Boston office of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Criminal Investigation.

At sentencing, U.S. District Court Chief Judge Mary M. Lisi also ordered Brier to serve 3 years of supervised release upon completion of his prison term and to pay back taxes to the IRS in the amount of $399, 424. Brier pleaded guilty on February 11, 2013, to one count of criminal contempt and one count of tax evasion.

In November 2010, the court entered a preliminary injunction against Brier and his employees after finding that at least 300 tax returns prepared by Brier and Refunds Now understated customers’ tax liabilities, and that Brier and his employees fabricated tax deductions and credits on the returns. Brier and his employees prepared approximately 24,000 federal income tax returns between 2003 and 2007. An IRS examination 350 of those returns determined that 92 percent of them required adjustments, resulting in a government-estimated loss of more than $1.1 million dollars in tax revenue.

On March 7, 2011, U.S. District Court Judge Mary M. Lisi permanently barred Michael Brier and his employees from preparing federal income tax returns for others.

On April 26, 2011, IRS Criminal Investigation agents executed a court-authorized search at Refunds Now and seized copies of tax returns prepared by Brier and several of his employees that were filed after the date of the permanent injunction. 

At the time of his guilty plea, Brier admitted to the court that he underreported his taxable income to the IRS between 2004 and 2009 totaling $1,152,679, and that he underpaid $399,424 in taxes to the IRS.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard B. Myrus.

Brier has been ordered to self-surrender by June 4, 2013, to begin serving his prison sentence.

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