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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Colorado

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Telluride Man Pleads Guilty To Filing $161,000 In False Claims With The Irs

DENVER – Ugur Ulupinar, age 37, of Telluride, Colorado, pled guilty this week in Durango before U.S. Magistrate Judge David L. West to filing false claims with the IRS, United States Attorney John Walsh and IRS Criminal Investigation Acting Special Agent in Charge Gilbert R. Garza announced.  Ulupinar is scheduled to be sentenced on October 13, 2015 at 9:00 am.

Ulupinar waived his right to be indicted and thus was charged by Information on April 27, 2015. The defendant pled guilty on May 5, 2015.

According to information contained in the plea agreement as well as the charging documents, from February to May of 2012, Ulupinar knowingly filed 162 false Forms 1040, U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Ulupinar used his business, Westax, to establish a business relationship with the Turkey based visa services company “Campus” where Ulupinar would file Forms 1040 for Campus’ clients.  Clients were citizens of Turkey, and neighboring nations, and university students in their nation of origin participating in the 2010 and 2011 U.S. Summer Work Travel Program otherwise known as a J1 Visa.  Campus assisted their clients in obtaining employment in the United States through the Summer Work Travel Program, and also offered tax preparation services for these clients. 

Ulupinar used the information he received from Campus to prepare and file 162 Forms 1040 with the IRS for tax year 2011.  These returns legally declared each client’s wages and taxes withheld; however, Ulupinar falsely claimed the American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC) for each client on each of the 162 Forms 1040.  The AOTC is a refundable tax credit available to those U.S. Resident Aliens or Citizens who incur college tuition expenses while attending an eligible educational institution.  None of the clients were Resident Aliens or Citizens of the U.S. during the applicable tax years.  As a result of fraudulently claiming the AOTC, each Form 1040 claimed the refund of an additional $1,000.00 per Form 1040 which was in addition to the amount legally due each client.  A total of $161,000.00 was fraudulently claimed using the AOTC. 

Ulupinar knew the clients were not entitled to the AOTC because they were not U.S. Resident Aliens or Citizens who incurred tuition expenses from a qualified educational institution.  Furthermore, no client provided him with any information regarding tuition payments.  U.S. Treasury tax refund checks were issued in the clients names and mailed to Ulupinar’s Post Office Box in Telluride, Colorado.  He would endorse the tax refund check by signing the clients name and then he counter endorsed the check with his own name before he deposited the checks into a bank account he controlled.  The clients were not aware of the additional $1,000 refund attributable to the AOTC tax credit which Ulupinar would keep for himself.  

As part of Ulupinar’s plea agreement, he agrees to pay $161,000 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service.

Ulupinar pled guilty to one count of filing a false claim with the IRS, which carries a penalty of not more than 5 years in federal prison, and a fine of up to $250,000. 

This case was investigated by Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

The defendant is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Todd Norvell in the Colorado U.S. Attorney’s Durango Branch Office.

Updated June 22, 2015