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Press Release

Corona Man Pleads Guilty to Preparing False Tax Returns

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Central District of California

RIVERSIDE, California – A Riverside County man has pleaded guilty to federal criminal charges for preparing and filing false tax returns for his clients, the Justice Department announced today.

Salvador Gonzalez, of Corona, pleaded guilty on Monday to three counts of aiding and assisting in the preparation of false tax returns.

According to court documents and statements made in court, starting in 2013, Salvador Gonzalez, of Corona, California, 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.

United States District Judge Jesus G. Bernal scheduled an October 7 sentencing hearing in this case, at which time Gonzalez will face a maximum penalty of three years in prison for each count.

IRS Criminal Investigation is investigating the case.

Assistant United States Attorney Eli A. Alcaraz of the Riverside Branch Office and Trial Attorney Lauren K. Pope of the Justice Department’s Tax Division are prosecuting the case.


Ciaran McEvoy
Public Information Officer
(213) 894-4465

Updated June 18, 2024

Press Release Number: 24-146