Former Jackson Tax Preparer Found Guilty Of Tax Fraud
A Jackson tax preparer was found guilty yesterday of 20 counts of filing false tax returns today by a federal jury after a week-long trial, U.S. Attorney Barbara L. McQuade announced today.
McQuade was joined in the announcement by Special Agent in Charge Jarod Koopman, Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation.
Richard Alan Williams was found guilty of three counts of subscribing and filing false personal income tax returns for himself and 17 counts of assisting in the preparation and filing of false tax returns for his customers. The case was tried before U.S. District Judge Stephen J. Murphy, III.
At trial, witness testimony and exhibits established that Williams owned and operated Imperial Tax Service on Prospect Street in Jackson, and prepared and filed false tax returns for individuals for the 2004, 2006 and 2007 tax years. These returns claimed false business expenses or losses. The falsified items caused the taxpayers’ refunds to be larger than what they were entitled to by either reducing their taxable income with phony business expense losses or increasing the Earned Income Credit they were entitled to receive by adding the right amount of phony business income.
Additionally, Williams declared that his own income was only $1 in 2004; $2 in 2006; and $10 in 2007 when, in fact, he earned substantial fees for preparing tax returns during each of those years. The taxpayers who testified that Williams had prepared their returns, but had added phony business expenses or income, were unaware of the false items Williams had included to increase their refunds. However, a number of them have since been audited by the IRS and have been directed to pay back the excess refunds they received for those years along with penalties and interest.
A sentencing hearing was set for June 5. The maximum penalty for each offense of conviction is up to three years imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, and 1 year of supervised release.
"IRS Criminal Investigation focuses on protecting revenue by identifying, investigating and prosecuting abusive return preparers. This case accentuates the importance for taxpayers to carefully select a tax return preparer,” said Special Agent in Charge Koopman.
The case was investigated by Special Agents of the IRS Criminal Investigations and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Christopher Varner and Ross I. MacKenzie.