Three Tax Return Preparers Charged with Conspiracy and Preparing False Tax Returns at Tax Preparation Business with Multiple Locations in Virginia
Three tax return preparers were indicted today by a federal grand jury in Richmond, Virginia, on charges of conspiracy to defraud the United States and 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 and U.S. Attorney Dana J. Boente of the Eastern District of Virginia.
According to the allegations in the indictment, from around December 2011 to spring 2012, Erik Pittman, 35, Jeremy Blanchard, 35, and Corey Taylor, 25, operated three locations of a tax return preparation business known as Mo Money Taxes. The indictment alleges that the three men, along with others, created and inflated fictitious and fraudulent tax credits, including the Earned Income Credit and the American Opportunity Credit, to claim tax refunds that customers were not entitled to receive. All three defendants are charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States. Pittman is charged with six counts of assisting in the preparation of false federal income tax returns, Blanchard is charged with eight counts of assisting in the preparation of false federal income tax returns and Taylor is charged with five counts assisting in the preparation of false federal income tax returns.
If convicted, each defendant faces a statutory maximum sentence of five years in prison and a fine of $250,000 for the conspiracy count and a statutory maximum sentence of three years in prison and a $250,000 fine for each count of preparing false tax returns.
Acting Assistant Attorney General Ciraolo and U.S. Attorney Boente commended the special agents of IRS–Criminal Investigation, the FBI and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, who investigated the case, as well as Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen W. Miller of the Eastern District of Virginia and Trial Attorneys Todd P. Kostyshak and Kevin F. Sweeney of the Tax Division, who are prosecuting the case.
An indictment merely alleges that a crime has been committed, and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.