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Press Release

Tax Lawyer Indicted for Obstructing IRS Investigation into Tax Returns that Sought More than $100 Million in Refunds

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

          SANTA ANA, California – A federal grand jury has charged a tax lawyer in a three-count indictment that alleges she attempted to obstruct a federal investigation into millions of dollars in refunds claimed in tax returns prepared by her accounting firm.

          Margaret Quick, 63, a former resident of Newport Coast who currently lives in Paradise Valley, Arizona, was charged Wednesday with two counts of attempting to interfere with the administration of federal tax laws and one count of making false statements to the Internal Revenue Service. Quick is a Pennsylvania-licensed tax attorney and former partner at the Irvine-based Quick Rios & Associates, According to public records, Quick has a juris doctorate and obtained a masters of law degree with an emphasis in taxation.

          According to the indictment, Quick tried to obstruct the IRS investigation into the Quick Rios-prepared tax returns that sought more than $100 million in total refunds via the IRS’s Telephone Excise Tax Refund (TETR) program. TETR was designed to compensate individuals and businesses that paid excess telephone excise taxes from 2003 to 2006.

          The indictment alleges that Quick directed others to alter telephone invoices and other TETR-related documents, then providing those fraudulent documents to the IRS to support the TETR-based tax returns that her accounting firm had prepared and filed. The indictment also alleges that Quick lied to the IRS via email and in-person, when she made false statements to IRS agents during in-person meetings in 2011 and 2012. Quick also is charged with attempting to influence a witness’s testimony, both by email and telephone, in July 2018.

          The other Quick Rios partner, certified public accountant Antonia Rios, pleaded guilty in October 2017 to obstructing the IRS investigation. During her change-of-plea hearing, Rios admitted that Quick Rios prepared federal tax returns for approximately 200 clients – including a number of Fortune 500 companies. Rios admitted that under Quick Rios’ fee arrangements with its clients, she and Quick stood to make millions of dollars in fees if the IRS ultimately paid out the TETR-based refunds. The IRS negotiated settlements with many of the firm’s clients. Rios is scheduled to be sentenced by United States District Judge Andrew J. Guilford on February 25.

          Quick will be summonsed to appear in United States District Court in Santa Ana for an arraignment, which will likely be scheduled for early 2019.

          An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.

          If convicted of all three charges in the Indictment, Quick would face a statutory maximum sentence of 11 years in federal prison and up to $750,000 in fines.

          This case is being investigated by IRS Criminal Investigation.

          This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Charles E. Pell of the Santa Ana Branch Office.


Thom Mrozek
Spokesperson/Public Affairs Officer
United States Attorney’s Office
Central District of California (Los Angeles)

Updated November 30, 2018

Press Release Number: 18-197