Local Tax Preparer Charged with Using Aliases to Continue False Tax Return Preparation after Pleading Guilty
HOUSTON – A local tax return preparer has been arrested on new charges of illegally preparing 39 false tax returns, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson along with D. Richard Goss, special agent in charge of Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI).
Cedric Keith Oliphant was sentenced to 33 months after pleading guilty in 2013 to filing a false tax return. He was released from prison Aug. 26, 2016, and arrested on the new charges today.
The 40-count indictment was returned under seal Aug. 29, 2016, and unsealed upon his arrest this morning. He is expected to make his initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Stephen W. Smith at 2:00 p.m. today.
Oliphant had been previously charged and later convicted of preparing dozens of false 2006-08 client tax returns as part of his business - Oliphant Tax Services. He had been permitted to remain on bond during that time under a condition that he have no involvement in the preparation of tax returns other than his own. However, according to the new indictment, Oliphant continued to claim the same false deductions for unsuspecting clients while awaiting sentencing on the previous case.
As part of the scheme, the indictment alleges he changed the name of business to “Tax Services” to allegedly make it appear he had stopped preparing client tax returns and that someone else was the owner of his tax preparation business. Oliphant allegedly attributed the fees to the nominal owner of his tax office but manipulated those tax returns to make it appear the tax office had produced almost no taxable income.
The indictment also alleges Oliphant established a series of bank accounts in the names of others - including minors with custodians other than himself - so the fees could first be deposited to accounts in the names of the nominal owner of his tax office and others. He then allegedly transferred those fees through these intermediate accounts to accounts in his own name. This scheme enabled Oliphant to conceal his personal use of the fees generated by the business during the course of the prosecution on the first case, according to the charges.
The business allegedly generated $2 million in fees and a total loss to the IRS of another $400,000 or more as charged in the new indictment. As part of the his plea agreement in the earlier case, the losses from those false tax returns exceeded $325,000.
If convicted, he faces another three years in federal prison and a possible $250,000 fine on each count of conviction.
IRS-CI conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jimmy Sledge Jr. is prosecuting the cases.
An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence.
A defendant is presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law.