Troy Tax Preparer Sentenced to 30 Months on Identity Theft, False Claims Convictions
UTICA, NEW YORK – Bryant C. Hardnett, age 45, of Watervliet and Cohoes, New York, was sentenced today to 30 months in prison, to be followed by 3 years of supervised release, for stealing the personal identifying information of children and using it to falsely claim the children as his own dependents on his tax returns.
The announcement was made by United States Attorney Grant C. Jaquith and James D. Robnett, Special Agent in Charge of the New York Field Office of Internal Revenue Service (IRS)-Criminal Investigation.
As part of his guilty plea on May 22, 2018, Hardnett admitted that he formerly operated a tax preparation business, BH Tax Services, from a storefront in downtown Troy, New York. Through that business, Hardnett met a woman who asked him to file a tax return in her name for the year 2013. She provided her two children’s personal identifying information, including their names and Social Security Numbers. Hardnett never filed a tax return in the woman’s name, and instead falsely claimed the two children as his nephews and dependents on his tax returns filed with the IRS in 2013, 2014 and 2015.
United States District Judge David N. Hurd found that Hardnett caused a total loss to the government of at least $125,331.31, including related conduct to which Hardnett did not plead guilty. Judge Hurd ordered Hardnett to pay $25,000 in restitution to the IRS, and barred him from filing a tax return for anyone other than himself, while he is on supervised release. In the plea agreement, Hardnett also agreed to be permanently enjoined from ever filing a tax return for anyone other than himself.
This case was investigated by IRS-Criminal Investigation and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Barnett.