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Press Release

San Diego Tax Return Preparer Indicted for Preparing False Tax Returns

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

A San Diego tax return preparer was arrested today after being indicted by a federal grand jury sitting in the Southern District of California on 36 counts of aiding and assisting in the preparation of false federal income tax returns, announced Acting Assistant Attorney General Caroline D. Ciraolo of the Justice Department’s Tax Division.

The indictment alleges that Marla Lynn Cunningham owned and operated Cunningham’s Tax Service, a tax preparation business located in El Cajon, California.  According to the charges in the indictment, in 2010, 2011 and 2012, Cunningham prepared false individual income tax returns for others, which included false Schedules C that reported fictitious business losses and false Schedules A that reported inflated or fictitious itemized deductions, such as charitable contributions and medical, dental and unreimbursed employee expenses.  Cunningham also attached forms claiming fictitious education credits that her clients were not entitled to receive.

If convicted, Cunningham faces a statutory maximum sentence of three years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 for each count.

Acting Assistant Attorney General Ciraolo commended the special agents of the Internal Revenue Service–Criminal Investigation, who investigated the case, and Trial Attorneys Matthew R. Hoffman and Benjamin J. Weir of the Tax Division, who are prosecuting the case.  Ciraolo also thanked the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Southern District of California for their substantial assistance.

An indictment merely alleges that crimes have been committed, and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. 

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

Updated August 27, 2015

Press Release Number: 15-1053