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Press Release

Hudson man indicted for claiming false tax credits for undocumented workers from offices in Canton and Akron

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

A Hudson man was indicted on 30 counts of aiding and abetting in filing false tax returns, said U.S. Attorney Justin E. Herdman and Ryan L. Korner, Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation, Cincinnati Field Office.


Sergio Gardea, 43, operated a tax preparation business, the Centro San Jose, from an office in Canton. He opened a second location in Akron in 2013. He prepared taxes mainly for Spanish-speaking workers and undocumented immigrants from Guatemala and Mexico who worked on farms or in farm-related factories in Stark County, according to the indictment.


Gardea obtained individual tax identification numbers for undocumented immigrants in order to file taxes on their behalf. These are numbers used by people unable to obtain a Social Security number but are still required to file U.S. tax returns, according to the indictment.


Gardea also obtained individual tax identification numbers for dependents who lived outside of the U.S. Taxpayers are allowed to claim the child tax credit, but only if their dependents live in the U.S. for the entire year or much of the year, according to the indictment.


Gardea filed tax returns for clients in which he claimed child tax credits when those dependents lived outside the U.S., according to the indictment.


“This defendant fraudulently claimed hundreds of thousands of dollars in refunds,” Herdman said. “He will be held accountable for his actions.”


“Based on the allegations in the indictment, it is unfortunate to see that so many fraudulent tax returns were filed by Gardea, especially when filing a tax return is one of the biggest financial transactions a taxpayer makes each year,” Korner said.


If convicted, the defendant’s sentence will be determined by the court after review of factors unique to this case, including the defendant’s prior criminal record, if any, the defendant’s role in the offense and the characteristics of the violations. In all cases, the sentence will not exceed the statutory maximum and, in most cases, it will be less than the maximum.


The matter is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Teresa L. Riley following an investigation by the IRS.


An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.


Mike Tobin

Updated September 15, 2017