Winnemucca Tax Return Preparer Pleads Guilty To Tax Fraud Conspiracy And Theft Of Elder Client's Money
RENO, Nev. – Thomas Michael Bidegary, 67, a tax return preparer who co-owned Winnemucca Tax and Bookkeeping Service, a tax preparation and bookkeeping services business, pleaded guilty today to conspiracy to commit tax fraud and theft of government money, related to two separate criminal indictments, announced U.S. Attorney Dayle Elieson for the District of Nevada and Special Agent in Charge Tara Sullivan for the IRS Criminal Investigation. United States District Judge Robert C. Jones received his guilty pleas and scheduled a sentencing hearing on January 29, 2019.
According to court documents, Bidegary conspired with a co-defendant to prepare and file fraudulent individual income tax returns on behalf of clients. Beginning in at least 2009 and continuing through December 2014, he advised clients that by making small “investments” into various businesses he owned, the clients could decrease their annual taxable income and increase their tax refunds. As part of the scheme, after receiving checks from clients, Thomas would prepare false tax forms for the corresponding tax year that included large fictitious business losses in order to reduce the client’s taxable income and obtain a larger refund than what the client was entitled to receive. As a result of the false tax returns, he caused a tax loss of approximately $259,880.
The statutory maximum penalty is five years in prison for conspiracy to defraud the United States, a term of supervised release, restitution, and monetary penalties.
In relation to a separate criminal case filed against Bidegary, he also admitted to preparing and filing an unauthorized tax return on behalf of an elderly woman in Battle Mountain, Nevada. After receiving the $12,500 tax refund, he deposited the check into a bank account which was then converted for his own personal use. The maximum penalty is 10 years in prison for theft of government property. He also faces a term of supervised release, restitution, and monetary penalties.
The case was investigated by the IRS Criminal Investigation. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Carla Higginbotham.