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Press Release

Pensacola Tax Preparer Sentenced to 18 Months in Prison for Tax Fraud

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

PENSACOLA, FLORIDA – Christopher Jacob Rankins, 33, of Pensacola, Florida, was sentenced on Friday to serve 18 months in prison after pleading guilty on June 16, 2017, to twelve counts of aiding or assisting others in the preparation of false tax returns.  In addition, Rankins was ordered to pay restitution to the IRS in the amount of $356,172.  The sentence was announced by Christopher P. Canova, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Florida.


Documents introduced at the time of the guilty plea reflect that, between January 1, 2011, and May 8, 2012, while working as a tax preparer at American Tax Service in Pensacola, Florida, Rankins aided, assisted, counseled, and advised others in the preparation and presentation of fraudulent and false tax returns.  The tax returns prepared by Rankins falsely represented the taxpayers’ business expenses and falsely claimed educational credits which resulted in taxpayers receiving approximately $356,172 in refunds and credits that the taxpayers were not entitled to receive.


The case resulted from the investigation by the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation.  It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney J. Ryan Love.


The United States Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Florida is one of 94 offices that serve as the nation’s principal litigators under the direction of the Attorney General.  To access public court documents online, please visit the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida website.  For more information about the United States Attorney’s Office, Northern District of Florida, visit


For more information, contact:
Amy Alexander, Public Information Officer

Updated November 6, 2017

Financial Fraud