Pompano Beach Tax Preparer Sentenced on Charges of Filing False Returns
A Pompano Beach tax preparer was sentenced yesterday by U.S. District Judge Robert N. Scola to 30 months in prison, to be followed by one year of supervised release for filing false tax returns.
Benjamin G. Greenberg, United States 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.
Patrick Bernavil, 38, of Pompano Beach, previously pled guilty to one count of aiding and abetting the preparation and presentation of fraudulent income tax returns, in violation of Title 26, United States Code, Section 7206(2), and one count of presentation of fraudulent returns, in violation of Title 26, United States Code, Section 7206(1). The defendant was also ordered to pay $2,612,202.00 in restitution.
According to the stipulated facts filed with the court, Bernavil owned a tax preparation business known as BMS Tax and Accounting Services, Inc. (“BMS"), from 2004 through 2014. Bernavil employed tax preparers that he trained to complete tax returns at BMS. A credit was claimed for the American Opportunity Tax Credit (“AOTC") in the amount of $2500 on approximately three thousand returns prepared by BMS for tax years 2011 through 2013, among other false claims. The AOTC is a tax credit enacted by Congress to encourage people to continue their education at colleges and universities and can be claimed up to four years while an eligible student is enrolled. These fraudulent claims filed by the defendant and his employees caused approximately $2.9 million in tax loss. The defendant also made false claims on his personal income taxes for tax years 2012 and 2013 and failed to file a return for 2014, causing a tax loss of $183,471.
Mr. Greenberg commended the investigative efforts of IRS-CI. This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Ellen L. Cohen.