Ottumwa Man and Woman Convicted for Filing Hundreds of False Tax Returns and Fraudulently Obtaining Unemployment Insurance Benefits Payments
Des Moines, IA – A Central Iowa man made his initial appearance today in federal court for numerous tax charges.
Bakou Kees Vonty (also known as Bob Vonty), 40, is charged in a 39-count indictment returned on March 21, 2023. As alleged in the indictment, from at least 2015 through 2021, Vonty prepared Individual Income Tax Returns for numerous customers who paid him to prepare and file their tax returns. Vonty acted as a “ghost preparer,” meaning that Vonty did not sign his customers’ tax returns when he prepared and filed them. Vonty prepared the customers’ tax returns but did not explain the contents of the returns to the customers, review the returns with the customers, or provide copies of the returns to the customers before Vonty electronically filed the returns with the Internal Revenue Service. Instead, Vonty would typically inform the customer of the amount of their anticipated refund. It is alleged that Vonty often included on his customers’ federal tax returns, schedules, and forms, items that Vonty knew to be false, such as false claims for business-expense deductions and education expenses. The effect of Vonty including false items on the tax documents was to increase the refunds his clients received.
In addition, it is alleged that Vonty also filed several of his own federal income tax returns knowing that they contained false information.
Vonty is charged with thirty-six counts of Preparing and Presenting a False Tax Return and three counts of Making and Subscribing a False Tax Return. If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of three years in prison on each count. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
United States Attorney Richard D. Westphal of the Southern District of Iowa made the announcement. Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation is investigating the case. Assistant United States Attorney Adam J. Kerndt is prosecuting the case.
An indictment is merely an allegation, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
Public Information Officer