U.S. Department of Justice
Commerce St., 3rd Fl.
Telephone (214) 659-8600
|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE||
JUNE 7, 2007
DFW TAX PREPARER CHARGED WITH RUNNING
DALLAS — Agents with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Criminal Investigation, arrested Herbert Jena, a local tax preparer, yesterday afternoon on charges in an indictment that was returned by a federal grand jury in Dallas earlier this week and unsealed today, announced U.S. Attorney Richard B. Roper of the Northern District of Texas and Eric Martinez, Special Agent in Charge of the Dallas Field Office of IRS Criminal Investigation. Two other defendants charged in the indictment, Aurora Perez and Nancy Munoz, worked with Jena at his tax preparation businesses. Perez surrendered to federal authorities this morning and Munoz is expected to surrender soon to federal authorities. Jena and Perez appeared this afternoon before a U.S. Magistrate Judge in Dallas who released each of them on bond. Jena was also arraigned today and entered a not guilty plea. An arraignment date has not yet been set for Perez.
SAC Martinez said, “The allegations in this indictment are that this scheme in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex claimed more than $1.6 million in fraudulent telephone excise tax refunds, making it one of the most egregious telephone excise tax refund fraud schemes during this filing season.” Martinez continued, “This office is committed to “disconnecting” these lawbreakers and will continue to investigate and pursue charges against those who engage in tax fraud.”
The indictment explains that the TETR was a one-time credit, available on 2006 federal income tax returns, that was designed to refund previously collected federal excise taxes on long-distance or bundled telephone service paid from February 2003 through August 2006. The FTC was a federal tax reimbursement available to eligible taxpayers arising out of the non-taxable use of fuel during certain qualified business activities.
In falsifying the returns, according to the indictment, the defendants included false requests for refunds or credits from the IRS, resulting in refund and credit overpayments by the IRS and unearned and fraudulent tax preparation fees paid to the defendants. The defendants then electronically filed these fraudulent tax returns with the IRS.
The indictment alleges that between January 12, 2007, and February 20, 2007, the defendants filed, or caused to be filed, approximately 1681 individual income tax returns with the IRS using Jena’s multiple EFINs. Approximately 1200 of those returns contained requests for the TETR in excess of $60, the highest amount of the standard TETR credit. The total amount of TETR claims submitted by the defendants was approximately $1,618,267. Approximately 774 of the returns contained requests for the FTC. The total amount of FTC claims submitted by the defendants was approximately $1,165,758.
According to the indictment, the defendants directed the fraudulently obtained income tax refunds to be deposited into bank accounts that Jena held or controlled.
An indictment is an accusation by a federal grand jury and a defendant is entitled to the presumption of innocence unless proven guilty. If convicted, however, Jena faces a maximum statutory sentence of 22 years in prison, Munoz faces a maximum statutory sentence of 25 years in prison and Perez faces a maximum statutory sentence of 13 years in prison.