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SAN FRANCISCO – Kamran Azizi and Hedyeh Shoar were charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States, announced U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag and Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation, Special Agent in Charge José M. Martinez.
According to the Indictment, during 2005 through 2008, Azizi was responsible for collecting donations at several MTO centers in the Northern District of California. MTO, a Sufi Islamic organization, has members who often make donations to the organization by way of cash or checks. During 2005 through 2008, Shoar was employed by MTO as an accountant. The Indictment alleges that Azizi kept a portion of members’ donations to MTO for his own benefit with the knowledge and assistance of Shoar.
Azizi and Shoar, married at the time, filed joint federal income tax returns for the tax years 2005 and 2006. Azizi filed individual federal income tax returns for the tax years 2007 and 2008. These tax returns omitted the MTO donations Azizi kept for his own benefit during these years, even though these donations were Azizi’s primary source of income. The Indictment also alleges that defendants deceived their tax return preparer by failing to provide that person with complete information regarding Azizi’s income.
Azizi was also charged with 2 counts of filing false federal income tax returns for the 2007 and 2008 filings.
Azizi was arraigned before the Honorable Elizabeth D. Laporte, United States Magistrate Judge, on Oct. 20, 2014. Azizi made his initial appearance before the Honorable Kandis Westmore, United States Magistrate Judge, on Oct. 16, 2014, at which time the Indictment was unsealed. Shoar remains a fugitive.
The maximum statutory penalty for each count of Conspiracy, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371, is five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The maximum statutory penalty for each count of Filing a False Tax Return, in violation of 26 U.S.C. § 7206(1), is three years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael G. Pitman is prosecuting the case. The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation.
Please note, an indictment contains only allegations and, as with all defendants, Azizi and Shoar must be presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.