Federal Court Bars South Florida Tax Return Preparers from Preparing Tax Returns for Others
Government Alleged that Defendants Prepared Returns with False Claims for the Fuel Tax Credit
A federal court in Miami, Florida has permanently barred Aleluya Universal Accounting Services Inc. (Aleluya) and its officers Frantz Petit-Dos, Luczor Fertilien, and David Joseph from preparing federal income tax returns for others, the Justice Department announced today.
In its complaint, the government alleged that Petit-Dos of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Fertilien of Margate, Florida, and Joseph of Lauderhill, Florida, prepared false returns from Aleluya’s office located at 7537 West Oakland Park Boulevard in Lauderhill, Florida. In addition to barring the defendants from preparing tax returns, the court ordered them to post a notice, in English and in Creole, in the store window where they prepared tax returns stating that the defendants are barred from preparing tax returns for others.
According to the government’s complaint, the defendants prepared tax returns that unlawfully understated income tax liabilities and overstated refunds by fabricating and/or exaggerating deductions and tax credits their clients are not eligible to take. For example, the defendants claimed Fuel Tax Credits for customers who did not qualify for this credit, according to the complaint. In particular, Joseph falsely advised one customer that she was eligible for the Fuel Tax Credit because she was self-employed and drove herself to work, according to the complaint. Similarly, Fertilien told the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) that he advised anyone with receipts for gas used in their vehicles could claim the Fuel Tax Credit, according to the complaint.
The government alleged in its complaint that Petit-Dos’s, Fertilien’s, and Joseph’s misconduct predated the creation of Aleluya. Prior to Joseph forming Aleluya in June 2013, Petit-Dos and Fertilien owned a tax return preparation business called Imperial Taxation that was located at the same Lauderhill location as Aleluya, according to the complaint. The complaint alleged that Petit-Dos, Fertilien, and Joseph, a return preparer at Imperial Taxation, prepared false tax returns and committed other violations of the Internal Revenue Code while at Imperial Taxation. Altogether, the complaint alleged that the loss to the U. S. Treasury from the defendants’ activities may be in the millions of dollars.
Return preparer fraud is one of the IRS’s Dirty Dozen Tax Scams for 2017 and taxpayers seeking a return preparer should remain vigilant. The IRS has some tips on their website for choosing a return preparer and has launched a free directory of federal tax preparers.
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.