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Press Release

Santa Rosa Tax Return Preparer Pleads Guilty to Tax Fraud and Failing to Report Foreign Bank Accounts

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

SAN FRANCISCO – Efrain Arturo Jovel pleaded guilty today to filing two false tax returns and failing to report his financial interest in foreign bank accounts, U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag and Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge José M. Martinez, announced.

According to the plea agreement, Jovel owned and operated a tax return preparation business for over 30 years, first out of his home, then out of offices on Guerneville Road, both in Santa Rosa, Calif. On average, Jovel prepared approximately 1,800 tax returns per year. Jovel admitted that for the tax years 2009 and 2010, he filed personal U.S. Individual Income tax returns that were false in that he did not disclose his foreign bank accounts in Guatemala and El Salvador. In addition, Jovel did not disclose interest income of $35,104 earned in 2009 and 2010 on the funds held in these foreign bank accounts. Jovel additionally admitted that he willfully underreported gross receipts from his tax preparation service of $244,120 and $307,846, respectively. This resulted in a tax loss of $175,023.

Jovel, 64, of Santa Rosa, was charged on September 9, 2014, with one count of willfully violating foreign bank account reporting requirements and two counts of subscribing to false tax returns. He pleaded guilty to all counts.

Jovel’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for January 20, 2014 before the Honorable Richard Seeborg, U.S. District Court Judge, in San Francisco. The maximum penalty for filing a false tax return, in violation of Title 26 U.S.C. § 7206(1), is three years in prison and a fine of $250,000. The maximum penalty for willfully violating foreign bank account reporting requirements, in violation of Title 31 U.S.C. §§ 5314 and 5322(a), is five years in prison and a fine of $250,000.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Colin Sampson is prosecuting the case. The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the IRS Criminal Investigation.



Updated November 18, 2014