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Press Release

Justice Department Seeks to Shut Down Miami Tax Return Preparers and Their Tax Preparation Businesses

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

The Justice Department’s Tax Division filed a civil injunction suit today to permanently bar Niclas Pierre and Elius Bessard and their tax return preparation businesses, Niclas Tax and Express Inc. and Bessard Immigrations and Tax Services LLC, from preparing federal tax returns for others. The United States also seeks an order requiring the defendants to disgorge to the United States their ill-gotten preparation fees.

The complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, alleges that Pierre and Bessard, through their businesses, prepared and filed over 8,000 federal income tax returns for customers since at least 2018. According to the complaint, Pierre and Bessard used a variety of schemes to claim false deductions and credits, including knowingly reporting fake or inflated business expenses and fraudulent losses from the supposed sale of personal investments and business property and fraudulently claiming various credits like the Residential Energy Credit and the American Opportunity Credit, all without customers’ knowledge. The complaint alleges Pierre and Bessard hid their fraudulent activity by not identifying themselves as the return preparer, and instead listed another person as the return preparer or listed no one at all.

According to the complaint, the defendants’ fraudulent activities have cost the United States millions of dollars in lost tax revenue, but the exact loss is difficult to estimate because of the complexity of their schemes and their failure to consistently identify themselves as the tax return preparers.

Deputy Assistant Attorney General David A. Hubbert of the Justice Department’s Tax Division made the announcement.

Attorneys from the Tax Division are handling the case.

Taxpayers seeking a return preparer should remain vigilant against dishonest tax preparers. The IRS has information on its website for choosing a tax return preparer and has launched a free directory of federal tax preparers. The IRS warns taxpayers to avoid ghost preparers and lists other improper acts that tax preparers engage in to take advantage of their unsuspecting customers. The IRS also offers guidance on the credentials and qualifications that taxpayers should seek from their return preparer.

In the past decade, the Justice Department’s 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.

Updated May 28, 2024

Topic
Tax
Component
Press Release Number: 24-676