Former Bank Manager Pleads Guilty to Tax Scheme Targeting Immigrant Community
Scheme targeted members of the Congolese community of Greater Boston
BOSTON – A former bank manager pleaded guilty today in federal court in Boston to falsely inflating taxpayer’s federal income tax refunds and diverting a portion of those refunds to accounts controlled by him and others.
Christian Zynga, 46, formerly of Everett, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States. U.S. District Court Judge Allison D. Burroughs scheduled sentencing for Feb. 17, 2022. Zynga was indicted in October 2020 with co-defendant Boris Shadari who has pleaded not guilty and is awaiting trial.
According to the charging documents, from 2012 to 2018, Zynga and, allegedly, Shadari held Shadari out to be a tax professional, particularly for the Congolese community of Greater Boston. It is alleged that until 2017, they took their customers’ tax information to a legitimate tax professional and provided the tax professional with false information concerning their customers’ dependents, dependent and childcare expenses and business income and losses in order to inflate the customers’ federal income tax refunds. They then allegedly caused the refunds to be split between the customers’ bank accounts and accounts they and their co-conspirators controlled.
From 2017 to 2018, Zynga and, allegedly, Shadari prepared customers’ tax returns themselves while continuing to inflate refunds by adding false information to the returns and diverting a portion of the customers’ refunds to themselves or accounts they or their co-conspirators controlled. It is alleged that the scheme resulted in a tax loss of more than $500,000. Among other things, Zynga, who worked as a bank manager, opened bank accounts in others’ names for the purpose of receiving the fraudulent federal income tax refunds. Zynga also provided Shadari with the names and Social Security numbers of children of an associate who was living abroad at the time so that they could be falsely listed as dependents on returns.
The charge of conspiracy to defraud the United States provides for a sentence of up to five years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss, whichever is greater. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Acting United States Attorney Nathaniel R. Mendell; Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Division; Joleen D. Simpson, Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigations in Boston; and Ketty Larco-Ward, Inspector in Charge of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service made the announcement today. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kristen A. Kearney of Mendell’s Securities, Financial & Cyber Fraud Unit is prosecuting the case.
The details contained in the indictment are allegations. The remaining defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.