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Press Release

Bayview/Hunter’s Point Tax Shop Owner Sentenced To Prison For Tax Fraud

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of California

SAN FRANCISCO – Josiah Larkin was sentenced to 37 months in prison and was ordered to pay $184,798 in restitution for filing, and conspiring to file, false federal income tax returns announced United States Attorney Brian J. Stretch and Assistant Special Agent in Charge IRS Criminal Investigation, Tyrone W. Blanchette.  The sentence was handed down today by the Honorable Susan Illston, United States District Judge, after a six-day trial in September of 2016. 

Evidence at trial showed that Larkin, 40, of San Francisco, set up an unauthorized franchise, Colbert Ball Tax, on Third Street in the Bayview/Hunter’s Point neighborhood of San Francisco.  Larkin opened the tax shop on December 15, 2012, ten days before Christmas, and advertised “Get Up to $600- Even if Unemployed, On SSA or SSI.”  Larkin filed false tax returns reporting that taxpayers with $0 income had paid $4,000 in qualified education expenses to attend college.  This combination of $0 income and $4,000 in qualified education expenses resulted in a $1,000 tax refund based on the American Opportunity Tax Credit (“AOTC”).  Larkin took approximately half of the $1,000 tax refund and gave the remaining half to his clients.  On September 15, 2016, the jury convicted Larkin of one count of conspiring to file false tax returns, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 286, and seven counts of filing false tax returns, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 287.

“Today’s 37-month sentence should be a clear reminder that tax cheats who defraud the federal government wind up in jail,” said U.S. Attorney Stretch. 

“With his storefront and neon sign, Josiah Larkin appeared to operate a legitimate tax business,” said Assistant Special Agent in Charge Blanchette.  “In reality, he targeted vulnerable individuals with the promise of cash just days before Christmas.  He filed false federal refund claims and kept half.  IRS, Criminal Investigation will continue to aggressively pursue those who file false tax returns to claim refunds for which they are not entitled.”

In addition to the prison term and restitution, Judge Illston ordered the defendant to serve three years of supervised release.  The defendant will begin serving the sentence on April 28, 2017. 

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Cynthia Stier and Laurie Kloster Gray prosecuted the case.  The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the Internal Revenue Service. 

Updated January 27, 2017