Tax Attorney Ordered To Prison For Causing Tax Loss Of More Than $2 Million
HOUSTON – Tax attorney and Certified Public Accountant (CPA) William R. Zweifel has been sentenced for his convictions on 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). Zweifel pleaded guilty March 8, 2013.
Today, U.S. District Judge Keith P. Ellison, who accepted the guilty plea, handed Zweifel a total sentence of 37 months and ordered him to pay a $10,000 fine and $250,000 in restitution to the IRS. Zweifel will be required to serve a one-year-term of supervised release and to perform 200 hours of community service following completion of the prison term.
At the hearing, the defense presented documents to the court showing that Zweifel had filed a motion with the Supreme Court of Texas seeking to resign as an attorney and counselor at law in Texas. Documents were also presented indicating that Zweifel had agreed with the Texas State Board of Public Accountancy to a consent order revoking his individual CPA certificate and firm CPA license in Texas.
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.
Zweifel has agreed 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.
Previously released on bond, Zweifel was permitted to remain on bond and voluntarily surrender to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.
This matter was investigated by IRS-CI and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Charles J. Escher.