Texas Tax Return Preparer Sentenced to Prison in False Tax Return Scheme
A Dallas, Texas, area tax return preparer was sentenced to 63 months in prison today for conspiring to defraud the United States and for aiding and assisting in the preparation of false tax returns, announced Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard E. Zuckerman of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and U.S. Attorney Erin Nealy Cox for the Northern District of Texas.
According to documents and information provided to the court, Francisco Ventura owned and operated tax preparation businesses located in the Northern District of Texas from 2012 through 2015. During 2014, Ventura was the de factoowner and manager of a business named AJJ Tax and More. In 2014, Ventura was also the de facto co-owner of a second preparation business, named Uptown Multi Services, which he co-owned with Mario Melendez.
From November 2013 through May 2014, Ventura conspired with Melendez and others to file fraudulent federal income tax returns for clients with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) that included false education credits, Schedule C expenses and other deductions. In addition to preparing such returns, Ventura taught training classes for new return preparers during which he instructed employees how to prepare fraudulent tax returns in order to maximize client refunds. Ventura is responsible for attempting to cause over $8.3 million of tax loss to the United States.
In addition to the term of imprisonment imposed, Ventura was ordered to serve two years of supervised release and to pay restitution in the amount of $8,310,261 to the IRS.
Melendez previously pleaded guilty in November 2018 to conspiring to defraud the United States and to aiding and assisting in the preparation of false tax returns. In April 2019, he was sentenced to 51 months in prison.
Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Zuckerman and U.S. Attorney Nealy Cox commended special agents of IRS-Criminal Investigation, who investigated the case, and Trial Attorney Alexander Effendi of the Tax Division and Assistant United States Attorney Melanie Smith, who prosecuted the case.
Additional information about the Tax Division and its enforcement efforts may be found on the division’s website.