Manhattan Federal Court Permanently Bars Tax Preparer Who Orchestrated Tax Fraud Scheme And Four Of His Associates From Engaging In Tax Preparation Business
Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced today that U.S. District Judge Alison J. Nathan has permanently enjoined LESTER MORRISON, a tax preparer who pled guilty in 2010 to orchestrating a large-scale tax fraud scheme, from working as a federal income tax return preparer or engaging in any conduct that interferes with the administration and enforcement of federal tax laws. Judge Nathan previously issued permanent injunctions against four of Morrison’s associates who also had pled guilty to tax fraud, Paulette Bullock, Gary Hanna, Joy David, and Kevin Vaden, to bar them from engaging in the tax preparation business.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: “The injunctions against Lester Morrison and his cohorts make clear that tax preparers who defraud the IRS will not only face criminal charges, but will also be barred from working in the tax return preparation business. This Office is committed to using all the enforcement tools at its disposal to protect the integrity of the federal tax system and public funds.”
As alleged in the Complaint and the United States’ filings:
Between 2000 and 2008, MORRISON and his associates orchestrated a tax fraud scheme involving the preparation of thousands of false and fraudulent tax returns through a tax preparation business located in the Bronx and Englewood, New Jersey. The fraudulent tax returns prepared by MORRISON and his associates sought improper deductions by, among other things, using stolen identities of deceased children to claim dependent deductions, and claiming phony business losses for non-existent businesses. In 2010, MORRISON and his four associates pled guilty to tax fraud in federal court. As of April 2016, MORRISON and his associates have all been released from prison.
In connection with entering the injunction against MORRISON, the Court found, among other things, that:
- Morrison was the organizer and leader of a tax preparation fraud scheme;
- Morrison caused loss of tax receipts to the United States in excess of $17 million;
- Morrison lied to the IRS during the course of the IRS’s investigation into his conduct; and
- Enjoining Morrison from acting as a tax return preparer is needed to protect the integrity of the federal tax system.
Based on those findings, the Court permanently enjoined MORRISON, either personally or by acting in concert with others, from acting as a federal income tax preparer for compensation, providing tax advice or services for compensation, or representing any person or entity before the IRS for compensation. The Court also permanently enjoined MORRISON from engaging in conduct that interferes with the administration or enforcement of federal tax laws. The Court further empowered the Government to take appropriate steps to monitor MORRISON’s compliance.
The Court previously made similar findings and imposed similar injunctions against each of MORRISON’s four associates.
The case is being handled by the Office’s Tax and Bankruptcy Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorney Li Yu is in charge of the case.