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Press Release

Southern California Man Pleads Guilty to Preparing False Tax Returns

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

A Southern California man pleaded guilty yesterday to preparing and filing false tax returns for his clients.

According to court documents and statements made in court, starting in 2013, Salvador Gonzalez, of Corona, operated Grace’s Lighthouse Resource Center Inc., a return-preparation business. Since then, Gonzalez has prepared or assisted in the preparation of more than 11,000 tax returns that requested refunds from the IRS totaling more than $38 million. 

Consistently, Gonzalez directed his clients to create a phony corporation and to title their homes, cars and other assets in the name of the corporation. Gonzalez then referred those clients to an associate to prepare these sham corporation’s tax returns. The associate would provide the clients with a blank spreadsheet and request that they input their business expenses into that spreadsheet. At Gonzalez’s direction, the clients would include personal expenses, such as their mortgage payments, car payments and utility bills, and then provide the spreadsheet to the associate. The associate would, in turn, use the spreadsheet to prepare the business tax returns, which inevitably would show a loss.

Gonzalez then prepared the clients’ individual income tax returns, which incorporated the fraudulent business losses and offset their income. To further reduce the clients’ taxes owed to the IRS, Gonzalez also fabricated deductions on the personal returns such as unreimbursed employee expenses, cash contributions to charity and medical and dental expenses. As a result of Gonzalez’s fraudulent return-preparation practices, his clients paid less taxes than they owed.

Gonzalez profited from his return-preparation business. Before 2019, he typically charged clients a flat fee of $500 per tax return. In 2019, he started charging clients 1% of their gross income as a fee for his services.

Gonzalez is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 7 and faces a maximum penalty of three years in prison for each of the three counts of aiding and assisting in the preparation of false tax returns to which he has pleaded guilty. He also faces a period of supervised release, restitution and monetary penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and any other statutory factors.  

Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stuart M. Goldberg of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and U.S. Attorney Martin Estrada for the Central District of California made the announcement.

IRS Criminal Investigation is investigating the case.

Trial Attorney Lauren K. Pope of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and Assistant U.S. Attorney Eli A. Alcaraz for the Central District of California are prosecuting the case.

Updated June 18, 2024

Press Release Number: 24-766