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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Florida

Friday, May 8, 2015

Broward County Tax Preparer Convicted of Preparing False Tax Returns

After a four-day trial, yesterday a federal jury convicted Hugo Jean Joseph, 60, of Coral Springs, of eleven counts of preparing false tax returns for his clients.

Wifredo A. Ferrer, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and Kelly R. Jackson, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), made the announcement.

As shown at trial and in court documents, Jean Joseph and co-defendant Guencia Piard a/k/a Guencia Toussaint operated Lakay Multi Services (LMS), a tax return service with locations in Pompano Beach, Naples and Fort Myers, Florida.  Jean Joseph and Piard prepared and filed fraudulent tax returns on behalf of their customers during the 2006 to 2008 tax years by using false Schedule A deductions (such as those for medical and unreimbursed employee business expenses), false Schedule C expenses, false education expenses, and false credits for federal fuel tax without their clients’ knowledge or consent. By inflating their clients' deductions, expenses, education credits, and fuel tax credits, Jean Joseph and Piard attained higher tax refunds for their clients which attracted a greater volume of clients.  Jean Joseph and Piard kept a portion of the fraudulently inflated tax refunds as payment for their services.

Jean Joseph and Piard prepared at least 76 false tax returns for twenty-one sets of clients for tax years 2006, 2007, and 2008. Sometimes, Jean Joseph and Piard provided clients with copies of their respective tax returns which were different from the tax returns filed with the IRS.   At least 21 of the 76 tax returns filed with the IRS reported a higher tax refund than the copy of the tax return provided to the client.

The total tax loss to the IRS was $283,834.

At sentencing, which is currently set for July 22, 2015 at 1:30 pm, before U.S. District Judge Jose E. Martinez, Jean Joseph faces a maximum term of 33 years in prison.

Co-defendant Piard was sentenced on August 7, 2014 to 24 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, and was ordered to pay restitution of $283,834. Piard pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371.

Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of IRS-CI.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Laurence M. Bardfeld.

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida at www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.

Updated February 4, 2016