Longtime Employee of Harford County Manufacturer Sentenced to 42 Months in Federal Prison for a $20 Million Kickback Scheme
Greenbelt, Maryland – U.S. District Judge Theodore D. Chuang sentenced Ronald Eugene Watson, also known as Sabir Muhammad, age 59, of Brandywine, Maryland, today to 27 months in federal prison, followed by one year of supervised release, for 23 counts of aiding and assisting in the preparation of false tax returns. Judge Chuang also ordered Watson to pay restitution of $268,634.35. Watson was convicted on March 9, 2023, after an eight-day trial.
The sentence was announced by Erek L. Barron, United States Attorney for the District of Maryland; Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stuart M. Goldberg of the Justice Department’s Tax Division; and Special Agent in Charge Kareem A. Carter of the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation, Washington, D.C. Field Office.
According to the evidence presented at trial, Watson was a self-employed tax return preparer operating SW Accounting Associates (“SWAA”) in Largo, Maryland. The evidence proved that from at least 2015 to at least 2017, Watson prepared and electronically filed with the IRS fraudulent Forms 1040 and related Schedules A and C for his taxpayer-clients. Watson included inflated and fictitious tax deductions and fraudulent business profits and losses in order to obtain larger tax refunds to which the taxpayer-clients were not entitled. According to witness testimony, Watson varied his preparation fees depending on the amount of the refund requested, with fees typically ranging from approximately $500 up to approximately $1,500. The tax loss to the United States was $325,330. Additionally, Watson failed to file his own tax returns for two years and willfully filed false tax returns in three other years.
U.S. Attorney Barron and Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Goldberg commended the IRS-CI for their work in the investigation. Mr. Barron and Mr. Goldberg also thanked Assistant United States Attorney Leah B. Grossi and Trial Attorney Matthew L. Cofer of the Justice Department’s Tax Division, who prosecuted the case.
For more information on the Maryland U.S. Attorney’s Office, its priorities, and resources available to help the community, please visit https://www.justice.gov/usao-md and https://www.justice.gov/usao-md/community-outreach.
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