Federal Court Bars Florida Man from Preparing Tax Returns for Others and Enters $1 Million Disgorgement Judgment
A federal court in Orlando, Florida, has permanently barred a Florida man from preparing tax returns for others and owning or operating a tax return preparation business, Acting Assistant Attorney General Caroline D. Ciraolo of the Justice Department’s Tax Division announced today.
The court also entered a $1 million judgment against Kerny Pierre-Louis of Windermere, Florida, on the United States’ claim for disgorgement of the proceeds he derived from preparing tax returns. The civil injunction and disgorgement judgment were signed by U.S. District Judge Anne C. Conway of the Middle District of Florida. Pierre-Louis agreed to entry of the injunction and disgorgement judgment, but did not agree to any of the facts alleged in the United States’ civil complaint.
In September 2014, the United States filed a civil injunction complaint against Pierre-Louis alleging that he and his employees prepared fraudulent tax returns for customers. The complaint alleged that return preparers in Pierre-Louis’s business targeted primarily low- to moderate-income customers with deceptive and misleading advertisements; prepared and filed fraudulent tax returns to increase their customers’ refunds; and profited through unconscionable, exorbitant and often undisclosed fees—all at the expense of their customers and the U.S. Treasury. According to the complaint, Pierre-Louis and his employees prepared federal tax returns on which they falsely claimed earned income and education credits, reported improper filing statuses, concocted phony businesses, claimed bogus income and expenses related to the non-existent businesses and fabricated job-related expenses. The complaint also named Jehoakim Victor and Lauri Rodriguez, allegedly former managers at Pierre-Louis’s tax preparation stores, as defendants. In February 2015, the court permanently enjoined Victor and Rodriguez from preparing tax returns for others and from owning or operating a tax return preparation business. Victor and Rodriguez agreed to entry of the injunction without admitting the allegations in the complaint.
Return preparer fraud is one of the IRS’s Dirty Dozen Tax Scams for 2016. The IRS has some tips on their website for choosing a tax preparer. In the past decade, the Tax Division has obtained injunctions against hundreds of unscrupulous tax preparers. Information about these cases is available on the Justice Department’s website. An alphabetical listing of persons enjoined from preparing returns and promoting tax schemes can be found on this page. If you believe that one of the enjoined persons or businesses may be violating an injunction, please contact the Tax Division with details.