MEMPHIS MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO DEFRAUDING THE UNITED STATES TREASURY OUT OF $3,455,249 THROUGH THE FILING OF FRAUDULENT INCOME TAX RETURNS
Memphis, Tenn- James Conard Burks, 37, of Memphis, Tennessee, pled guilty to a criminal information
charging him with one count of Conspiracy to Defraud the United States through the filing of Fraudulent
Tax Returns in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371 and Money Laundering in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1956,
announced Edward L. Stanton, III, United States Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee and
Christopher Pikelis, Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation-Nashville Field Office.
The information charges that James Burks, a self-proclaimed tax return preparer, ran a tax shop
in Memphis that was named “Money In Your Hand Tax Service.” Through his business, Burks ran a
scheme in which he and other preparers under his direction would falsely include first time home buyer
credits as well as other tax credits and falsehoods on his clients’ tax returns. The information alleges that
Burks received a cut of the fraudulent refund by having the IRS electronically deposit a portion of his
clients’ tax refunds directly into accounts that were either in his name or under his control. As a result of
the fraudulent returns prepared by Burks, the IRS paid tax refunds in excess of $3,455,000 that was not
The information further alleges that the IRS deposited into Burks’s bank accounts more than
$800,000 in illegal tax refunds. The information further alleges that in an effort to expand his client base,
Burks paid people to recruit clients. Burks paid his recruiters approximately $500 for each client who filed a tax return through “Money In Your Hand Tax Service.” For the tax year 2008, Burks submitted and caused to be submitted more than 490 fraudulent tax returns. The money laundering charge in count two of the information alleges that Burks cashed a check in the amount of $83,000.00 at Reese’s Barbeque in Memphis. The information charges that the cashiers’ check constituted the proceeds from his illegal tax business.
Count one charges a violation of 18 U.S. C. § 371 conspiracy, which caries a maximum sentence
of not more than five years; not more than $250,000, a three-year period of supervised release, and a
special assessment of $100. Count two charges a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1956 money laundering, which
carries a maximum possible sentence of not more than twenty years; not more than $500,000 or twice the value of the property involved in the transaction, whichever is greater; or both, and not more than five
years supervised release, and a special assessment of $100. Count three charges a forfeiture count under
18 U.S.C. §§981(a)(1)(c) and 982(a)(1) and 28 U.S.C. §2461(c).
“The conviction in this multi-million dollar tax fraud and money laundering scheme should
demonstrate to those who seek to cheat the system that such criminal conduct will not be tolerated.
Law-abiding tax preparers deserve a marketplace free from this type of abuse, and IRS investigations
like these help preserve the integrity of the system for honest taxpayers.”
"Return Preparer fraud is a priority for IRS Criminal Investigation and we have committed
many resources to investigating and prosecuting cases just like this one," said Christopher Pikelis,
Special Agent in Charge, IRS-Criminal Investigation-Nashville Field Office. "Taxpayers should be
very selective in choosing a return preparer and avoid any preparer who promises to increase your
refund for a fee.”
This indictment follows an investigation by IRS, Criminal Investigation. Assistant United
States Attorney Lawrence J. Laurenzi is prosecuting the case for the United States.
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