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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Philadelphia Tax Preparer Convicted of Preparing False Tax Return

Caused Tax Loss of Over $2 Million

A Philadelphia tax return preparer pleaded guilty to aiding and assisting in the preparation of a false tax return before the United States District Court in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania yesterday, announced Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard E. Zuckerman of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and U.S. Attorney William M. McSwaim for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

“Tax return preparers, who take advantage of their clients and the tax system to file false tax returns and line their own pockets with refund money, will be prosecuted and held accountable for their criminal conduct,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Zuckerman.

“When our tax laws are ignored, especially to this extent, we all lose,” said U.S. Attorney McSwain. “The defendant not only violated the tax laws, but also he victimized individuals who simply wanted to do the right thing and pay their taxes. This sentence should send a message to anyone who thinks he can flout the law: the federal government will investigate and prosecute you.”

“Mr. Coumbassa blatantly ignored the tax laws by preparing false tax returns,” said IRS Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge Guy Ficco. “He used a variety of methods to cheat the government, including falsifying information on tax returns to generate larger refunds for his clients. We owe it to every American taxpayer to use all lawful means to identify and prosecute unscrupulous tax returns preparers like Mr. Coumbassa.”

Abdoulaye Coumbassa (Coumbassa) owned and operated Abbi Tax Services and Accounting (Abbi Tax). From at least 2012 to 2015, Coumbassa prepared and filed fraudulent U.S. Individual Income Tax Returns Forms 1040 (“Forms 1040”) and related forms and schedules on behalf of his clients with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The indictment alleged that Coumbassa falsified clients’ returns by, among other things, attaching false Schedules C to the clients’ Forms 1040. These Schedules C falsely claimed that the client had a business that lost money, which loss was used to offset taxable income and therefore inflate the refunds or create a refund rather than tax due and owing. The defendant agreed in his plea agreement that a reasonable estimate of the total tax loss exceeded $2 million.

Sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 30, 2020, before United States District Judge R. Barclay Surrick. Coumbassa faces a statutory maximum sentence of three years in prison and a $250,000 fine for aiding in the preparation of a false tax return. He also faces a period of supervised release, restitution, and monetary penalties.

Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Zuckerman thanked a special agent of IRS-Criminal Investigation, who conducted the investigation, Assistant United States Attorney Bea Witzleben, and Trial Attorney Sarah Ranney of the Tax Division, who are prosecuting the case.

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

A Philadelphia tax return preparer pleaded guilty to aiding and assisting in the preparation of a false tax return before the United States District Court in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania yesterday, announced Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard E. Zuckerman of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and U.S. Attorney William M. McSwaim for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

“Tax return preparers, who take advantage of their clients and the tax system to file false tax returns and line their own pockets with refund money, will be prosecuted and held accountable for their criminal conduct,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Zuckerman.

“When our tax laws are ignored, especially to this extent, we all lose,” said U.S. Attorney McSwain. “The defendant not only violated the tax laws, but also he victimized individuals who simply wanted to do the right thing and pay their taxes. This sentence should send a message to anyone who thinks he can flout the law: the federal government will investigate and prosecute you.”

“Mr. Coumbassa blatantly ignored the tax laws by preparing false tax returns,” said IRS Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge Guy Ficco. “He used a variety of methods to cheat the government, including falsifying information on tax returns to generate larger refunds for his clients. We owe it to every American taxpayer to use all lawful means to identify and prosecute unscrupulous tax returns preparers like Mr. Coumbassa.”

Abdoulaye Coumbassa (Coumbassa) owned and operated Abbi Tax Services and Accounting (Abbi Tax). From at least 2012 to 2015, Coumbassa prepared and filed fraudulent U.S. Individual Income Tax Returns Forms 1040 (“Forms 1040”) and related forms and schedules on behalf of his clients with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The indictment alleged that Coumbassa falsified clients’ returns by, among other things, attaching false Schedules C to the clients’ Forms 1040. These Schedules C falsely claimed that the client had a business that lost money, which loss was used to offset taxable income and therefore inflate the refunds or create a refund rather than tax due and owing. The defendant agreed in his plea agreement that a reasonable estimate of the total tax loss exceeded $2 million.

Sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 30, 2020, before United States District Judge R. Barclay Surrick. Coumbassa faces a statutory maximum sentence of three years in prison and a $250,000 fine for aiding in the preparation of a false tax return. He also faces a period of supervised release, restitution, and monetary penalties.

Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Zuckerman thanked a special agent of IRS-Criminal Investigation, who conducted the investigation, Assistant United States Attorney Bea Witzleben, and Trial Attorney Sarah Ranney of the Tax Division, who are prosecuting the case.

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

Topic(s): 
Tax
Component(s): 
Press Release Number: 
19-1,054
Updated October 2, 2019