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Press Release

North Carolina Tax Return Preparer Sentenced to Prison For Tax and Bankruptcy Fraud

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

A Greensboro, North Carolina, resident was sentenced today to 37 months in prison for corruptly endeavoring to obstruct the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), filing a fraudulent tax return, and bankruptcy fraud, announced Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stuart M. Goldberg of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and Acting U.S. Attorney Sandra J. Hairston for the Middle District of North Carolina.


According to documents and information provided to the court, during 2008 and 2009, Hassie Demond Nowlin, aka Demond Nowlin and Brilliant Knowlin, 44, filed several fraudulent tax returns with the IRS that included fake income and withholding taxes and sought more than $750,000 in fraudulent refunds. Nowlin also filed documents with the Guilford County Register of Deeds purporting to renounce his United States citizenship and proclaiming to be a sovereign citizen. Between 2008 and 2010, the IRS assessed taxes, penalties and interest against Nowlin related to the fraudulent returns. After being notified of the assessments, Nowlin began concealing his assets and placing them in the names of nominee entities.


Nowlin also admitted that between 2011 and 2017, he earned hundreds of thousands of dollars operating a tax preparation business. Nowlin filed hundreds of tax returns for clients that claimed phony business and education expenses, sought refunds to which the clients were not entitled and did not identify him as the paid preparer. Nowlin caused the fees he earned to be deposited into nominee bank accounts that he controlled. Nowlin also admitted that he made false statements to IRS agents, including that he did not prepare tax returns for clients.


In addition to the tax-related charges, Nowlin also admitted to attempting to cheat his creditors by filing fraudulent personal bankruptcy petitions. Along with these petitions, Nowlin also submitted false financial statements on which he did not fully disclose his income and assets.


In addition to his term of imprisonment, U.S. District Court Judge Catherine C. Eagles ordered Nowlin to serve three years of supervised release and to pay restitution to the IRS in the amount of $188,001.89.  Nowlin pleaded guilty in August to obstructing the internal revenue laws, filing a fraudulent tax return, and bankruptcy fraud.


Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stuart M. Goldberg and Acting U.S. Attorney Hairston commended special agents of IRS Criminal Investigation, who conducted the investigation, and Trial Attorney Robert J. Boudreau of the Tax Division and Assistant U.S. Attorney Anand P. Ramaswamy of the Middle District of North Carolina, who prosecuted the case.


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

Updated November 16, 2017

Press Release Number: 17-1303