Federal Court Bars Owner and Employees of Providence, Rhode Island, Firm from Preparing Federal Tax Returns
WASHINGTON – A federal judge in Providence, R.I., entered a preliminary injunction against Michael Brier, individually, and doing business as Refunds Now Inc., RNTS Inc., FTIRS Inc., POTIRS Inc. and IHIRS Inc. from preparing federal tax returns for others. Also enjoined are Jeffrey Sroufe, Refunds Now’s director of operations and Esther Santiago, RNTS’s president.
The court found that at least 300 returns prepared by Brier and Refunds Now understated customers’ tax liabilities. It further found that Brier and his employees fabricated deductions and tax credits on the returns, for which they had no support. The court noted that with respect to one of Brier’s customers, a Refunds Now employee offered to provide the customer with fake receipts in order to substantiate amounts reported on her federal tax return.
In the past decade, the Justice Department’s Tax Division has obtained hundreds of injunctions against tax fraud promoters and dishonest tax return preparers. Information about these cases is available on the Justice Department’s website.