West Hartford Tax Preparer Admits Filing False Tax Returns
Deirdre M. Daly, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, and William Offord, Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation, today announced that HAI T. LE, 44, of West Hartford, waived his right to indictment and pleaded guilty yesterday in Bridgeport federal court to filing false tax returns.
According to court documents and statements made in court, LE prepared federal income tax returns for individuals in his community, many of whom were family or friends. When undertaking the tax return preparation, LE would typically ask his clients to provide him their prior returns, purportedly so that LE could verify relevant information. LE would prepare the current year return, but also make and keep copies of the prior returns.
In pleading guilty, LE admitted that after certain clients received the current year refund, he would improperly use the prior returns to prepare false amended returns purportedly on behalf of his clients. The amended returns included false information, including unwarranted residential energy credits, education credits, and tuition and fees deductions, and incorrectly reflected that the taxpayer was entitled to an additional refund. Unbeknownst to his clients, LE filed the amended returns with the Internal Revenue Service and included his own residence as the return address. In most cases, the IRS sent a refund check to the listed address. LE then endorsed his client’s name and his own on the reverse of the check to make it appear that the check had been signed over to him. He then deposited the check into one of his bank accounts and used the funds for living expenses and the purchase of a $50,000 Certificate of Deposit.
Between March 2010 and August 2010, LE prepared and filed 28 fraudulent federal amended tax returns, utilizing his clients’ information without their knowledge in order to obtain a total of $138,826 in refunds. Six refunds totaling $32,752 were stopped prior to a check being issued, resulting in an actual loss to the IRS of $106,074.
LE pleaded guilty to three counts of filing a false claim with the Internal Revenue Service. He is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Jeffrey A. Meyer on September 1, 2015, at which time he faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 15 years, a fine of up to $250,000, and full restitution.
This matter was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation Division, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher W. Schmeisser.