Okeechobee Man Sentenced for Preparing False Tax Returns
An Okeechobee man was sentenced to 24 months in prison, followed by one year of supervised release, and was ordered to pay $238,734.00 in restitution, by United States District Judge Robin L. Rosenberg, for his participation in a tax fraud scheme.
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.
Wyman Pittman, 47, of Okeechobee, previously pled guilty to aiding in the preparation and presentation of false tax returns.
According to court documents, Pittman was a paid tax preparer who, together with his former partner Ventrell Bouie, of Fort Pierce, Florida, operated a tax preparation service business, First Premium Financial Services (FPFS), in Okeechobee, Florida. From 2008 through 2012, Pittman prepared individual income tax returns. Pittman assisted in the preparation of multiple, fraudulent tax returns by supplying false income and deduction figures, failing to review them in detail with the taxpayers, and then electronically filing them for the taxpayers.
Specifically, Pittman filed a Form 1040 income tax return for the 2008 tax filing year that falsely itemized a taxpayers’ deductions for, among other things, medical and work expenses. As a result, the taxpayer received an inflated and unmerited tax refund payment. Pittman knew that the taxpayer had not claimed, or provided to Pittman, the information regarding those deductions for inclusion in the tax return.
Maria Garcia began working in 2008 for FPFS and was trained and supervised by Pittman and Bouie. Garcia, as a paid tax preparer, prepared false returns for customers based on false Schedules A and C, false education credits, and false child and dependent care credits. Additionally, Garcia filed three false returns for herself for tax years 2008, 2009, and 2010.
Garcia learned the tax preparation business, while working under Bouie and Pittman. Pittman taught Garcia how to fraudulently inflate deductions and refunds on client taxpayer returns. Using that knowledge, Garcia started her own tax preparation business where she too prepared false returns.
Bouie was charged separately and pled guilty to aiding in the preparation and presentation of false tax returns, in Case No. 13- 14025-CR-Martinez. Bouie was sentenced to 24 months in prison.
Garcia was also charged separately and pled guilty to aiding in the preparation and presentation of false tax returns, in Case No. 13- 14026-CR-Graham. Garcia was sentenced to 18 months in prison.
Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of IRS-CI. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Theodore M. Cooperstein.