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Friday, October 3, 2008
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Minnesota Tax Return Preparer Sentenced to Prison After Being Found Guilty of Criminal Contempt

St. Paul Man Sentenced for Violating a Court Order Barring Him From Preparing Returns

WASHINGTON - A federal court in Minnesota today sentenced Nash Sonibare of St. Paul, Minn., to 59 days of incarceration plus 100 hours of community service plus five years of probation for violating a preliminary injunction order that barred him from preparing tax returns for customers, the Justice Department announced.

U.S. District Judge Donovan Frank found that Sonibare violated a March 2006 preliminary injunction order that barred him from the tax return preparation business by continuing to prepare income tax returns for customers from his offices in Little Canada and Roseville, Minn.

The earlier preliminary injunction order and a February 2007 permanent injunction order were entered after the court determined that Sonibare had repeatedly prepared federal income tax returns for customers that contained false or inflated Schedule C expenses, false Schedule C businesses, false or inflated Schedule C business losses, false education credits, false dependency exemptions and other fraudulent items.

"Today?s sentence shows that there are serious consequences for violating a court injunction," said Nathan J. Hochman, Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department?s Tax Division. "The Justice Department is committed to prosecuting tax preparers and tax-scheme promoters who violate injunction orders."

Hochman thanked Tax Division trial attorney Michael Pahl for prosecuting the case and Internal Revenue Service agent Nona Bosshart for her investigative work.

"Mr. Sonibare intentionally violated a court order directed him to stop preparing tax returns," said U.S. Attorney Frank J. Magill. "One cannot disregard a federal court injunction and expect no consequences. Those who engage in such contemptuous conduct involving our tax system will be vigorously pursued."

Since 2001, the Tax Division has obtained injunctions against 355 tax return preparers and tax fraud promoters. More information about these cases and related criminal contempt prosecutions is available at the Justice Department Web site, as is information about the Justice Department's Tax Division.