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Press Release

Former Tax Preparer, Elected Public Official Sentenced for Tax Fraud

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Rhode Island

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Leon F. Tejada, 51, of Providence, former owner of El Centro Multiservices, a tax preparation service in Providence, and a former member of the Providence City Council and Rhode Island General Assembly, was sentenced today to 12 months and one day in federal prison for devising and executing two tax fraud schemes to steal tax refunds monies from 76 taxpayers whose tax returns he prepared and filed, and from the IRS.

At sentencing, U.S. District Court Chief Judge William E. Smith also ordered Tejada to serve three years supervised release upon completion of his prison term, during which time he is ordered to perform 1,000 hours of community service. Tejada pleaded guilty on December 18, 2015, to one count of tax fraud and four counts of wire fraud.

Tejada’s sentence is announced by United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha and Joel P. Garland, Special Agent in Charge of IRS Criminal Investigation.

At the time of his guilty plea, Tejada admitted to the court that during tax years 2009 through 2012, without the knowledge of his clients, he devised a scheme to create and falsify clients’ dependents, exemptions, tax credits, deductions, and expenses in order to increase the amount of tax refund due to some of the clients. An investigation by IRS Criminal Investigation and the United States Attorney’s Office determined that this scheme resulted in a loss to the United States of $54,440.

Additionally, Tejada admitted to the court that he devised a scheme to divert a portion of tax refunds some of his clients’ received into his own bank account for his own personal use. An investigation by IRS Criminal Investigation and the U.S. Attorney’s Office determined that Tejada diverted $24,987 in tax refund monies skimmed from the tax refunds of at least 76 individuals.

At sentencing, U.S. District Court Chief Judge William E. Smith ordered Tejada to pay full restitution to the 76 individuals whose tax refund monies he stole and to the IRS, totaling $78,548.

Tejada has been ordered to self-surrender to begin serving his prison sentence by May 2, 2016.

In a separate matter, a federal grand jury last week returned a 70-count indictment alleging that Belkis M. Guzman, 47, of Cranston, a former tax preparer employed at El Centro Multiservices, participated in schemes to prepare false tax returns claiming deductions taxpayers were not entitled to and to filing fraudulent tax returns using personal identifying information of others without authorization. It is alleged that the latter scheme resulted in tax refunds totaling more than $686,000, which were deposited into Guzman’s personal bank account.

The indictment, which charges Guzman with thirty-three counts of preparing false income tax returns, eight counts of wire fraud, four counts of aggravated identity theft, twenty-three counts of forgery, and one count of theft of government funds. Guzman pleaded not guilty at her arraignment on April 4, 2016.

An indictment is merely an allegation 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.

The cases are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard W. Rose.

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Contact:

Jim Martin (401) 709-5357

email: USARI.Media@usdoj.gov

on Twitter @USAO_RI

 

Updated April 7, 2016

Topics
Financial Fraud
Tax
Press Release Number: 16-26