Federal Court Bars Two Managers of Florida Tax Preparation Stores from Owning a Tax Return Preparation Business and Preparing Tax Returns for Others
A federal court in Orlando, Florida, has permanently barred two managers of tax preparation stores in Florida from preparing tax returns for others and from owning or operating a tax return preparation business, the Justice Department announced today.
The civil injunction order, to which Jehoakim Victor and Lauri Rodriguez agreed, was signed by Chief Judge Anne C. Conway of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida.
The United States filed its civil injunction complaint in September 2014 against Kerny Pierre-Louis, Rodriguez and Victor. Rodriguez and Victor managed and supervised employees at LBS Tax Services stores, which were owned by Pierre-Louis. According to the complaint, both Rodriguez and Victor were paid, in part, based on a percentage of the gross tax preparation fees that the locations charged its customers. The government alleged that they, and return preparers they supervised, prepared fraudulent federal tax returns on which they falsely claimed the earned-income credit and bogus education credits, report improper filing statuses, inflated federal income tax withholdings and fabricated business expenses.
The lawsuit against Pierre-Louis, Rodriguez and Victor is one of eight suits filed by the United States in Florida against Walner Gachette, the founder and franchisor of LBS Tax Services, and numerous other LBS franchisees and managers. The other cases, as well as the claims against Pierre-Louis in this case, remain pending.
Return preparer fraud is one of the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) Dirty Dozen Tax Scams for 2015. The IRS has some tips on their website for choosing a tax 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 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.