Justice News

Department of Justice
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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Certified Public Accountant Convicted of Preparing False Returns

A federal jury convicted certified public accountant Jeffery Deshon Applewhite, aka Jeffrey Donald Mason, a resident of Los Angeles County, California, of 20 counts of aiding and assisting the preparation and presentation of false tax returns late yesterday, announced Assistant Attorney General Kathryn Keneally of the Justice Department’s Tax Division, U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag for the Northern District of California and Internal Revenue Service (IRS)-Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge José M. Martinez.  Applewhite was not convicted on five charges of identity fraud.


The evidence presented during the five day trial before U.S. District Court Judge Jeffrey S. White showed that Applewhite, who owned and operated tax preparation businesses in Los Angeles and Oakland, California, prepared false and fraudulent income tax returns for clients during the years 2006 through 2011 on which he fabricated deductible expenses, including gifts to charity,  and other expenses.  Applewhite also fraudulently included residential energy credits and education credits to which his clients were not entitled on tax returns he prepared.  Applewhite prepared and filed false returns using the names Jeffery Deshon Applewhite and Jeffrey Donald Mason, and used the name and tax preparer identification number of another tax return preparer.


Applewhite’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for Aug. 5, 2014, before Judge White in Oakland.  The maximum statutory penalty for each count of aiding and assisting the preparation of false tax returns is three years in prison and a fine of $250,000. 


The case was investigated by Special Agents from IRS - Criminal Investigation Assistant U.S. Attorney Cynthia Stier and Trial Attorney Sonia Owens of the Tax Division are prosecuting the case.


More information about the Tax Division and its enforcement efforts can be found at the division website

Press Release Number: 
Updated September 15, 2014