Owner of Palmdale Tax Service Arrested on Tax Fraud Charges
LOS ANGELES – The owner/operator of a Palmdale tax preparation business has been arrested on federal charges that he prepared and filed fraudulent federal income tax returns on behalf of his clients.
Oscar D. Alcerro, Jr., 31, the owner of Juniors Tax Service, Inc., was arrested yesterday by special agents with IRS Criminal Investigation pursuant to an indictment returned last month by a federal grand jury.
The 31-count indictment charges Alcerro with aiding and assisting in the preparation of fraudulent income tax returns.
The indictment alleges that over the course of several years – for the 2010 through 2013 tax years – Alcerro prepared and filed tax returns that claimed false itemized deductions on behalf of 11 clients. The taxpayers for whom the tax returns were prepared were not entitled to claim the deductions on the tax returns, which were filed without them knowing about the fraudulent deductions. The fraudulent tax returns included false deductions for personal property taxes, mortgage interest expense, gifts to charity and unreimbursed employee expenses. In one instance, the false deductions taken on the tax return totaled more than $57,500.
“Tax return preparers who are involved in the filing of false tax returns victimize their clients and the United States Treasury,” said United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker. “With the start of the 2017 filing season upon us, taxpayers should know that the Justice Department will hold these return preparers accountable for their conduct.”
“As we approach the tax filing season, those who might consider preparing false tax returns should be aware of the extremely negative consequences of doing so,” stated Acting Special Agent in Charge for IRS Criminal Investigation, Anthony J. Orlando. “Yesterday’s arrest of Mr. Alcerro emphasizes that the Internal Revenue Service and U.S. Attorney’s Office will continue our aggressive pursuit of those who attempt to defraud America’s tax system.”
An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until proven guilty in court.
Alcerro was arraigned on the indictment yesterday afternoon in United States District Court. A United States Magistrate Judge scheduled a trial on March 7 and ordered the defendant released on a $25,000 bond. As a condition of his release, Alcerro was ordered to not prepare tax returns.
Each count in the indictment carries a statutory maximum penalty of three years in federal prison, and a fine of up to $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss resulting from the offense.
This case is the product of an investigation by IRS Criminal Investigation.
Return preparer fraud is one of the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) Dirty Dozen Tax Scams. The IRS has some tips on their website for choosing a tax preparer, and has launched a free directory of federal tax preparers. Additional information about and enforcement efforts by the United States Department of Justice may be found on the Tax Division’s website.
The case against Alcerro is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys James C. Hughes and Robert F. Conte of the Tax Division.