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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Justice Department Sues to Stop South Florida Tax Return Preparer Engaged in Fraud and Earned Income Credit Schemes

The United States has asked a federal court in Miami to permanently bar a South Florida man and his two Miami businesses, Ebenezer Tax Services Inc. and Primo Tax Service Inc., from preparing federal income tax returns for others, the Justice Department announced today. He is alleged to have defrauded the government out of more than $20 million.

Ernice Joseph, of Broward County, Florida, and his businesses are alleged to have prepared federal income tax returns that unlawfully understate income tax liabilities and overstate refunds through a variety of schemes. The complaint alleges that Joseph and his businesses prepared returns that unlawfully claim the Earned Income Tax Credit by reporting fictitious businesses or business income on clients’ Schedule C – Profit or Loss From Business. Joseph and his businesses prepare returns that claim education and other credits to which the taxpayers are not entitled in order to overstate their refunds. According to the complaint, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) examined 76 returns prepared by Joseph and/or Ebenezer Tax Services and found that 74 contained a deficiency. The complaint alleges that, altogether, Joseph and Ebenezer Tax Service’s activities may have caused more than $20 million in loss to the U.S. Treasury. In addition, the complaint alleges that the revenue lost from Primo Tax Service’s activities could exceed $25 million.

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. Ernice Joseph, et al.
Complaint for Permanent Injunction

Press Release Number: 
Updated July 7, 2016