Andover Attorney Sentenced to Prison for $1.6 Million IRS Scam
BOSTON –An Andover attorney was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Boston in connection with his role in converting and laundering more than $1.6 million in fraudulently-obtained IRS refund checks through several different bank accounts, including several of his attorney trust accounts.
R. David Cohen, 64, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Leo T. Sorokin to 54 months in prison and three years of supervised release during which time he is not permitted to practice law or act as a notary. The Court also ordered Cohen to pay over $1.6 million in restitution as well as forfeiture. In January 2016, Cohen was convicted by a federal jury in of one count of conspiracy to covert government funds, 14 counts of conversion and receipt of stolen United States property, and one count conspiracy to commit money laundering.
Cohen engaged in a scheme in which individuals filed fraudulent tax returns with fictitious W-2 information, usually a name and social security number of a resident of Puerto Rico, whose residents are not required to file federal income tax returns. Once the fraudulent returns were accepted by the IRS, refund checks were sent to designated addresses in Lawrence, East Boston, and New York controlled by Cohen’s co-conspirators.
Beginning in October 2011, Cohen and his co-conspirators deposited over 100 fraudulently-obtained tax refund checks totaling over $1 million into banks to launder them through Cohen’s “Interest On Lawyer’s Trust Accounts” (IOLTA), as well as through bank accounts in the name of AD Professional Association, Inc. When questioned by bank officials about the large amount of U.S. Treasury checks Cohen was depositing and negotiating through his IOLTA and personal accounts, Cohen falsely claimed that the payees were his clients. When one bank requested proof concerning one of the IRS refund checks, Cohen provided a fake participation agreement and affidavit purporting to state that he had the client’s authority to deposit her IRS refund check into his IOLTA account.
United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz and Joel P. Garland, Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation in Boston, made the announcement today. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys S. Theodore Merritt and Ryan M. DiSantis of Ortiz’s Public Corruption Unit.