Tax Preparers Indicted And Arrested On Federal Tax Charges
HONOLULU – Christine Helliangao, 35, a resident of Henderson, Nevada, and Natasha Bardon, 31, a resident of Kapolei, Hawaii, were arrested on April 13, 2017 as a result of a federal indictment in Hawaii charging that they conspired to file false federal income tax returns, and filed such returns, for the 2013 and 2014 tax years.
Elliot Enoki, Acting United States Attorney for the District of Hawaii, said that a federal grand jury indicted the two individuals on April 12, 2017. The indictment charged that, between January 2014 and April 2015, Helliangao and Bardon conspired to defraud the United States by preparing false income tax returns. According to the indictment, Helliangao operated a company called Pau Taxes, which served as a paid tax preparer for others. The indictment alleged that Helliangao and Bardon solicited clients, and prepared federal and state tax returns falsely claiming itemized deductions for business expenses and charitable contributions not incurred or made by their clients. The indictment alleges that Helliangao and Bardon caused the filing of tax returns claiming approximately $1.6 million in federal tax refunds to which their clients were not entitled, and charged fees based on the amounts of the refunds.
The indictment also charges Bardon with 25 counts of aiding and abetting the filing of specific false tax returns, and Helliango with four such counts.
Bardon was arrested at her home in Kapolei on April 13, and appeared in federal court, where she pled not guilty to the charges and was released on bail. Trial has been set for June 14, 2017 before United States District Judge Helen Gillmor. Helliangao was arrested on April 13 in Henderson, Nevada, and appeared in federal court in Las Vegas, where she was ordered to appear in Honolulu on April 24 to answer the charges.
An indictment is merely an accusation, and both defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty. If convicted of the charges, Helliangao and Bardon face a maximum term of imprisonment of five years as to the conspiracy charge, and three years as to each of the false tax return counts, plus a fine of up to $250,000 as to each count, and an order requiring that they pay restitution to the Internal Revenue Service.
The case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation, with the assistance of the Honolulu Police Department, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Larry Tong and Amalia Fenton.