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Press Release

St. Louis City Man Pleads Guilty to Preparing False Tax Returns

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Missouri

St. Louis MO --- Aaron Mitchell, 30, of St. Louis City, pled guilty today to one count of preparing false tax returns and one count of filing false claims for tax refunds.  Mitchell appeared before United States District Judge Audrey F. Fleissig.  Sentencing is scheduled for October 29, 2019. 

According to court documents, Mitchell admitted that from 2013 through 2015, he prepared approximately 160 federal income tax returns for individuals and electronically filed the returns.  He was not registered with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) as a return preparer and submitted the returns only in the names of the individuals.  Most of the tax returns prepared and filed by Mitchell were false and constituted fraudulent claims for refund. 

Mitchell submitted false W-2 information which reflected false employer names as well as false wage and income tax withholding amounts.  He often added in bogus claims for education credits---so-called American Opportunity Credits--- by falsely claiming that individuals had upwards of $4,000.00 in expenses attending Forest Park Community College or Meramec Community College.  The false tax returns prepared and filed by the Mitchell for the years 2012, 2013 and 2015 caused a tax loss of $99,576.00, which was the amount of refunds paid out by the IRS.

“An integral part of the IRS’s mission involves detecting and catching fraudulent tax refund claims,” said Karl Stiften, Special Agent in Charge.  “IRS Criminal Investigation special agents will continue to be on the front lines to fight tax fraud.”

Mitchell faces up to three years’ imprisonment and a fine of $250,000 for preparation of false tax returns and up to five years’ imprisonment and a fine of $250,000 for filing false claims for tax refunds.  In determining the actual sentence, a Judge is required to consider the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, which provides recommended sentencing ranges.

The case was investigated by the IRS Criminal Investigation office in St. Louis.  Criminal Chief James Crowe, Jr. is handling the case for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Updated July 22, 2019