Justice News

Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Justice Department Sues to Stop Chicago Man from Promoting Alleged Tax Scheme and Preparing Tax Returns

Targeted City of Chicago Employees and Awardees from Shakman Class-Action Lawsuit

The United States filed a complaint today to bar Victor M. Crown, individually and through his businesses Crown and Franklin Accounting and Refunds, Crown-Franklin Accounting Inc., Accurate Accounting PV, and Lourdes Theodossis Estate, from promoting two alleged tax fraud schemes and from preparing federal tax returns for others, the Justice Department announced.

The complaint alleges that Crown’s tax schemes and the tax returns and other tax documents he prepares are based, at least in part, on his customers’ employment with the city of Chicago or on his customers’ discrimination awards in the class-action case Shakman, et al., v. Democratic Organization of Cook County, et al. (Shakman). Shakman is a discrimination class-action lawsuit against the city of Chicago that alleged political patronage in the hiring and promotion of public officials. As part of the settlement, the city of Chicago agreed to set up a $12 million fund to compensate class members for injuries that allegedly arose from violations of court orders.

According to the complaint, Crown prepares federal income tax returns and other documents that claim false amounts of income tax withheld from his customers’ earnings. The government contends that Crown asserts that his customers can claim credit for false amounts of tax withheld based on his contention that the city of Chicago incorrectly calculated the income taxes it withheld from its employees’ wages. According to the complaint, Crown’s claims lack merit because an employee is not entitled to claim an income tax withholding credit for more than the amount of income taxes actually withheld from their wages.

The complaint also alleges that Crown prepares customers’ income tax returns and other documents that claim bogus net operating losses. According to the complaint, Crown asserts that his customers are entitled to claim these bogus losses because the customers sought, but did not receive, a certain award amount for their Shakman class-action claim. For example, Crown allegedly prepared a return for a Shakman claimant who sought a $100,000 award, but only received $12,500. According to the complaint, Crown falsely claimed the customer was entitled to an $87,500 net operating loss on the customer’s amended tax returns. The complaint alleges that Crown’s scheme lacks merit because nothing in the Internal Revenue Code permits a taxpayer to deduct the amount of a denied discrimination claim as a net operating loss. According to the complaint, Crown’s frivolous claims have resulted in fraudulently understated tax liabilities on his customers’ federal income tax returns.

Return-preparer fraud is one of the IRS' Dirty Dozen Tax Scams for 2014 . The IRS has some tips on their website for choosing a tax preparer. In the past decade, the Tax Division has obtained injunctions against hundreds of fraudulent 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.

Related Materials:

United States v. Victor M. Crown, et al.
Complaint for Permanent Injunction and Other Relief

Press Release Number: 
Updated July 7, 2016