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Press Release

Louisiana Tax Return Preparer Sentenced to Prison for Theft of Public Money and Aggravated Identity Theft

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

A former tax return preparer and resident of New Orleans, Louisiana was sentenced today to 36 months in prison, announced Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Caroline Ciraolo, head of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and U.S. Attorney Kenneth A. Polite for the Eastern District of Louisiana. 

According to court-filed documents, Donald Stewart, 60, previously pleaded guilty to one count of theft of public funds and one count of aggravated identity theft. From approximately 2001 through 2008, Stewart acted as a return preparer under the business names Stewart’s Tax Service and Stewart LTD, before the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) suspended his Electronic Filing Information Number.  From January 2011 through February 2012, Stewart admitted causing federal tax refunds in the names of others to be electronically deposited into bank accounts under his control.  Stewart also admitted to cashing or depositing U.S. Treasury checks made payable to others, which represented federal income tax refunds totaling approximately $539,393, at a bank in the New Orleans area.  In addition, Stewart obtained and used the means of identification of another individual, including their social security number, during and in relation to wire fraud, when he filed a false tax return using another individual’s name and took the resulting refund for himself.

In addition to his prison sentence, Stewart was sentenced to serve one year of supervised release and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $577,202.97 to the IRS.

Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Ciraolo and U.S. Attorney Polite commended special agents of IRS-Criminal Investigation, who conducted the investigation, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Hayden Brockett and Tax Division Trial Attorney Lauren Castaldi, who are prosecuting the case.

Additional information about the Tax Division and its enforcement efforts may be found on the division’s website.

Updated December 12, 2016

Identity Theft
Press Release Number: 16-1053