A federal court in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois has permanently enjoined a Rockford-area tax return preparer from preparing returns for others and from owning, operating or franchising any tax return preparation business in the future.
According to the court’s order, Gretchen Alvarez, aka Gretchen Trejo, consented to entry of the injunction, which permits the United States to conduct post-judgment discovery to monitor compliance. The terms of the order require that Alvarez, both individually and doing business as Sick Credit Repair, Tax and Legal Services, send notice of the injunction to multiple individuals, and, during the tax filing season, advertise the injunction in places where she conducts business. The civil complaint filed against Alvarez alleged that she prepared federal income tax returns for Rockford-area taxpayers that significantly understated her customers’ tax liabilities by fabricating business losses, which fraudulently reduced her customer’s legitimate W-2 taxable income. The complaint also alleged that Alvarez falsely claimed that some of her customers attended higher education institutions to fraudulently claim education credits on the returns she prepared.
Acting Assistant Attorney General David A. Hubbert of the Justice Department’s Tax Division made the announcement.
Return preparer fraud is one of the IRS’ Dirty Dozen Tax Scams, and taxpayers seeking a return preparer should remain vigilant. (More information can also be found here.) The IRS has information on its website for choosing a tax preparer, has launched a free directory of federal tax preparers, and offers information on how to avoid “ghost” tax preparers, whose refusal to sign a return should be a red flag to taxpayers.
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 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.