Mo Money Tax Return Preparers Plead Guilty Conspiracy to Defraud the United States and Filing False Tax Returns
RICHMOND, Va. – Jeremy Blanchard, 35, and Erik Pittman, 35, both of Memphis, Tennessee, pleaded guilty today to charges of conspiracy to defraud the United States and one count of aiding and assisting in the preparation of a false tax return.
In a statement of facts filed with the plea agreement, Blanchard, Pittman, and others prepared numerous false tax returns for the 2011 tax year for customers of their tax return preparation business. Blanchard, who pleaded guilty yesterday, and Pittman, who pleaded guilty today, were preparers in Mo Money Taxes, which operated three locations in Richmond. Blanchard and Pittman admitted that they created and inflated fictitious and fraudulent tax credits, including the Earned Income Credit and the American Opportunity credit, to claim tax refunds that customers were not entitled to receive. As part of their guilty pleas, Blanchard and Pittman admitted that their conduct caused a loss to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) of more than $250,000, but less than $550,000.
Blanchard and Pittman each face a maximum penalty of a total of eight years in prison and a $500,000 fine when sentenced on June 8, 2016. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; and Caroline D. Ciraolo, Acting Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department’s Tax Division; and Thomas Jankowski, Special Agent in Charge of IRS-Criminal Investigations, Washington D.C. Field Office, made the announcement after the plea was accepted by U.S. District Judge John A. Gibney. This case was investigated by IRS-Criminal Investigations, the FBI's Richmond Field Office, and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen Miller, and Trial Attorneys Kevin F. Sweeney and Todd Kostyshak of the Tax Division are prosecuting the case.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 3:15-cr-136.