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Press Release

Fraudulent Tax Return Preparer Sentenced to Prison Term

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

Gregory J. Haanstad, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, announced that on February 27, 2024, United States District Judge Brett H. Ludwig sentenced Rodney C. Smith (age: 60) to 41 months’ imprisonment, followed by one year of supervised release, for his willful preparation of false tax returns through his business, Xpert Tax Services in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  Smith was also ordered to pay $216,643 in restitution and a $400 special assessment.

According to court records, over the course of four years, Smith prepared fraudulent tax returns for his clients by making knowingly false representations in their returns about the clients’ dependents, wages, and income or losses from businesses. These misrepresentations qualified the taxpayers for a refundable Earned Income Tax Credit to which they were otherwise not entitled, thus fraudulently increasing their tax refunds. The estimated loss associated with Mr. Smith’s scheme was $3.3 million.

Court records reveal that although the IRS executed a search warrant at Smith’s business in 2020, and he admitted to agents that he was knowingly violating the federal tax laws, he nevertheless persisted in his criminal conduct by continuing to prepare false returns for his clients the next year. Smith ultimately pled guilty in October 2023 to four counts of aiding, assisting, counseling, or advising the preparation of a false return, in violation of Title 26, United States Code, Section 7206(2).

Smith was previously convicted in the Eastern District of Wisconsin in 2010 with conspiracy to defraud the United States by filing a false income tax return.

When imposing sentence, Judge Ludwig emphasized that the loss to the taxpayers in this case was very significant, and that defendants who willfully flout the law must be sentenced in a fashion that promotes respect for the law.

“Mr. Smith willfully and repeatedly sought to defraud the IRS and caused injury to every individual and business who played by the rules and paid their fair share of taxes due to fund vital government operations and programs,” said U.S. Attorney Haanstad. “The sentence in this case reflects the fact that Mr. Smith’s fraud was relentless, and not even a prior conviction or the execution of a search warrant at his business was sufficient to deter him from seeking to line his pockets at the taxpayers’ expense. I commend the hard work of everyone involved in seeking justice in this case.”

“The sentence imposed in this case sends a clear message that those who exploit the tax system for personal gain will be held accountable,” said Justin Campbell, Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation Chicago Field Office. “Tax preparers are entrusted with accurately and ethically preparing tax returns on behalf of their clients. When individuals like Smith abuse this trust, they not only steal from the government, but they also betray the confidence of the taxpayers they purport to serve. IRS-CI remains committed to safeguarding the integrity of our tax system by holding accountable those who choose to violate their moral and ethical obligations.”

This matter was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigations and was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Kate Biebel.

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For further information contact:

Public Information Officer

Kenneth.Gales@usdoj.gov

(414) 297-1700

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Updated February 28, 2024