Dallas Return Preparer Sentenced to Prison in Scheme to File False Tax Returns
A Dallas, Texas-area tax return preparer was sentenced to 51 months in prison today for conspiring to defraud the United States and aiding and assisting in the preparation of false tax returns, announced Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney Richard E. Zuckerman of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and U.S. Attorney Erin Nealy Cox for the Northern District of Texas.
According to documents and information provided to the court, Mario Melendez worked as a manager and return preparer at Uptown Multi Services, a tax preparation business located in the Northern District of Texas. Co-defendant, Francisco Ventura owned Uptown and other tax preparation businesses.
From November 2013 and continuing through April 2014, Melendez conspired with others to prepare fraudulent federal income tax returns for clients that included false education credits, Schedule C expenses and other such items. Melendez also assisted Ventura during training classes for new tax return preparers during which they instructed employees how to prepare fraudulent tax returns in order to maximize clients’ refunds. Melendez is responsible for attempting to cause an estimated $3.8 million tax loss to the United States.
In addition to the term of imprisonment imposed, Melendez was ordered to serve one year of supervised release and to pay restitution in the amount of $3,885,456 to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
Ventura pleaded guilty to aiding and assisting in the preparation of a false return. His sentencing is scheduled for June 14, 2019.
Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney Zuckerman and U.S. Attorney Nealy Cox commended special agents of IRS-Criminal Investigation, who investigated the case, and Trial Attorney Alexander Effendi of the Tax Division and Assistant United States Attorney Melanie Smith, who are prosecuting this case.
Additional information about the Tax Division and its enforcement efforts may be found on the division’s website.