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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Florida

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Sarasota Tax Preparer Pleads Guilty To Preparing Fraudulent Tax Returns For Illegal Aliens

Tampa, Florida - Acting United States Attorney A. Lee Bentley, III announces that Fernando Torres (41, Sarasota) pleaded guilty today to aiding and assisting in the preparation and presentation of fraudulent tax returns. Torres faces a maximum penalty of six years in federal prison.

According to the plea agreement, Torres operated a tax preparation business in Sarasota. Torres’ tax preparation business catered mostly to an illegal immigrant population in and around Sarasota County. During 2011 and 2012, Torres prepared and filed 239 fraudulent tax returns with the Internal Revenue Service, on behalf of his illegal immigrant clients. Torres ensured that his clients obtained refunds by falsely claiming that they had one or more qualified dependents, when in fact, they did not. In order to increase the amount of refunds received by his clients, Torres also fraudulently claimed the Additional Child Tax Credit for them.

As a result of Torres’ conduct, the IRS paid out $697,573.00 in tax refunds. Had Torres completed the returns accurately and legitimately, most of his clients would have owed money to the IRS.

This case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Sarasota Police Department. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Simon Gaugush.

Updated January 26, 2015