Sacramento Man Pleads Guilty in Tax Refund Fraud Scheme
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Arsen Muhtarov, 39, of Sacramento, pleaded guilty to today to conspiracy to defraud the United States by filing fraudulent tax returns, U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott announced.
According to court documents, Aleksandr Kuzmenko, 34, of Loomis, was a tax preparer at VK Tax Services in Citrus Heights. Muhtarov conspired with Aleksandr Kuzmenko, Petr Kuzmenko, 39, of West Sacramento, and Valeriy Nikitchuk, 45, of Kent, Washington, to defraud the United States. Between February 2009 and November 2009, using stolen identification information and fictitious addresses, they filed approximately 90 fraudulent tax returns with the IRS that claimed the First Time Home Buyer Credits (FTHBC) on behalf of filers who were not entitled to the credit. The resulting fraudulent refunds were electronically deposited into bank accounts that the defendants controlled. The proceeds were then withdrawn and spent. The fraudulent claims totaled approximately $695,724, of which the IRS paid approximately $573,000.
Petr Kuzmenko was sentenced to six and a half years in prison and ordered to pay $573,332 in restitution to the IRS. Aleksandr Kuzmenko was sentenced to over two years in prison, and Valeriy Nikitchuk was sentenced to 10 months in prison.
Muhtarov is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Garland E. Burrell Jr. on June 1, 2018. Muhtarov faces a maximum statutory penalty of 10 years and prison and a $250,000 fine. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.
This case is the product of an investigation by the IRS Criminal Investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Michele Beckwith is prosecuting the case.