RECENT TAX PROSECUTIONS SERVE AS A REMINDER TO ACCURATELY FILE AND PAY TAXES AS THE APRIL 15 DEADLINE APPROACHES
Matthew D. Krueger, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, issued a statement reminding all Wisconsin residents to file accurate federal income tax returns as the deadline for filing is Monday, April 15. Although the filing season is nearing the end, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation Division work year round to protect the integrity of our nation’s tax system by investigating and prosecuting individuals who violate the tax laws.
“The funding of our government—and the vital protection and services it renders—depends upon taxpayers voluntarily complying with the tax laws,” said U.S. Attorney Krueger. “The millions of taxpayers who pay their taxes accurately deserve to know that cheating on taxes will not be tolerated. The Department of Justice and the IRS are committed to prosecuting dishonest individuals who seek to hide income, claim false deductions, or engage in other schemes to avoid their tax obligations. These prosecutions send a clear warning: Federal prison awaits those who cheat on their taxes.”
“Taxpayers thinking about participating in fraudulent tax schemes, such as failing to report all forms of income or falsifying deductions should take a good look at the serious and detrimental consequences of taking the next step,” stated Special Agent in Charge Gabe Grchan of the IRS Criminal Investigation Division. “Those who might consider preparing false and fraudulent tax returns should be aware of the extremely negative consequences that could result in prison time, large tax bills, including substantial fines, interest and penalties.”
As the tax filing season winds down, the following prosecutions over the last four month in the Eastern District of Wisconsin serve as a warning against filing a false or fraudulent tax return, and as a reminder to be wary of any schemes that would falsify income or deductions.
Alma Ramirez, formerly of Green Bay, Wisconsin, was sentenced March 5, 2019 to four years in prison, and ordered to pay $301,370 in restitution. Ramirez, and others working with her and at her direction, prepared and filed more than 60 false federal income tax returns in the names of various individuals. These tax returns included false information concerning the taxpayer’s employment, wages, the amount of federal taxes that had been withheld from those wages, dependents, and the taxpayer’s eligibility for various tax credits. Ramirez also committed identity theft by illegally using the names and social security numbers of unwitting individuals to commit her fraud offense.
Randy Usow of Mequon, Wisconsin, owner and operator of Randy Usow Accounting was sentenced February 21, 2019, to 30 months in prison and ordered to pay more than $600,000 in restitution. From 2011 to 2015, Usow filed at least four false federal income tax returns, fraudulently seeking more than $800,000 in federal income that he diverted to himself.
Deily Veras of Newark, New Jersey, was sentenced December 13, 2018, to 52 months in prison for fraudulently obtaining over $2.7 million in tax refund checks. Veras was also ordered to pay $2,766,926.15 in restitution. Veras committed the theft by fraudulently obtaining the identities and Social Security Numbers (“SSNs”) primarily of Puerto Rican residents.
Karen Tompkins, of Milwaukee was the Manager of a Liberty Tax Service in Milwaukee and was sentenced March 25, 2019, to 12 months in federal prison and ordered to pay $384,528 in restitution. Tompkins and her co-conspirators artificially inflated tax filer’s claimed income, by inventing Schedule C business income for non-existent business, such as "hair braiding" or "dancing" businesses. They also claimed false W-2 income and Additional Child Tax Credits causing the IRS to pay out larger tax refunds than it otherwise would have. In return for these inflated tax refunds, Tompkins and her co-conspirators received kickbacks.
Susan Wenszell of Milwaukee was the president and owner of J. Wenszell Enterprises Inc., and pleaded guilty February 15, 2019 to failing to account for and pay federal payroll taxes to the IRS. From the second quarter of 2012 through fourth quarter of 2015, Wenszell withheld more than $1.2 million from employee wages but paid only $13,966.69 to the IRS. In addition, during the years 2010-2015, Wenszell failed to pay the employer’s share (or matching share) of payroll taxes that totaled almost $530,000.
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