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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Texas

Friday, March 8, 2013

Tax Attorney Convicted Of Causing Tax Loss Of More Than $2 Million

HOUSTON – Tax attorney and Certified Public Accountant (CPA) William R. Zweifel has entered a plea to two counts of willfully aiding and assisting in the preparation and presentation of U.S. Individual Income Tax Returns that were false or fraudulent, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today along with Special Agent in Charge Lucy Cruz of Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI)

According to the plea agreement filed in the record of the case, Zweifel acknowledged he was a tax attorney and CPA and that he prepared false income tax returns for some taxpayers that claimed large tax refunds to which the taxpayers were not entitled. The method he used to create a false income tax refund was to offset a taxpayer’s income with an alleged loss from either a partnership in which the taxpayer had no partnership interest or from an S corporation which reported no loss for the taxpayer to claim. Zweifel stipulated in the plea agreement that the tax losses to the United States from the false claims on the two income tax returns listed in the criminal information were approximately $61,000 and approximately $42,000, respectively. Zweifel further admitted that for purposes of determining relevant conduct under the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, the tax loss to the United States in this case is approximately $2.2 million. 

“One of the IRS’s main objectives is to ensure that all tax practitioners, tax preparers and others who practice in the tax law profession adhere to professional standards and follow the law,” said Cruz. “CI’s efforts to deter refund fraud are critical to overall tax compliance. Our special agents play a valuable role in protecting revenue by identifying, investigating and recommending prosecution of abusive return preparers.”

Zweifel also has agreed to pay restitution to the United States of $250,000 and to never again aid or assist in the preparing or presenting of tax returns for any taxpayer other than himself and any entity he owns. He further agreed not to oppose any civil injunction action brought by the United States seeking to enjoin him from preparing income tax returns for anyone but himself and any entity he owns.

The court has set sentencing for May 23, 2013. The maximum penalty Zweifel faces on each count of willfully preparing a false income tax return is imprisonment of three years and a fine of $250,000. He was permitted to remain on bond pending that hearing.

This matter was investigated by IRS-CI and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Charles J. Escher.   

Updated April 30, 2015