Fraudulent Tax Preparer Sentenced To Prison
GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN – Faheem Olugbodi, also known as Faheem Abdul Nichols and James Moore, 48, of Grand Rapids, Michigan, was sentenced to 3 and ½ years in federal prison, U.S. Attorney Andrew Birge announced today. Olugbodi pled guilty to conversion of government property for preparing fraudulent tax returns from 2011 through 2013. In his plea agreement, Olugbodi admitted collecting personal information from taxpayers and then reporting false income listed as household employment in order to generate tax refunds based on the Earned Income Tax Credit. Olugbodi acknowledged that he obtained $1,827,450.00 by filing approximately 322 fraudulent tax returns. At the sentencing hearing, the evidence showed that Olugbodi utilized multiple bank accounts, including one in the name of local mosque Baitul Shukur to conceal his fraud scheme.
United States District Judge Gordon Quist directed that Olugbodi pay $1,827.450.00 in restitution and ordered two years of supervised release following the prison term. In imposing the sentence, Judge Quist remarked that there is both "a social cost as well as a financial cost" to such fraud schemes which appear to be on the rise in this district.
"Tax preparers who abuse the Earned Income Tax Credit are just engaged in theft by another name. My office will continue to work closely with IRS Criminal Investigation to limit theft from the U.S. Treasury and to punish those who obtain monies through fraudulent tax filings," said U.S. Attorney Birge. "As the tax filing season approaches, I strongly encourage taxpayers to be wary of utilizing unregistered tax preparers who promise guaranteed refunds. Taxpayers should make sure to get copies of any tax return prepared on their behalf and be sure that all the information, including income and any dependents that are listed, is correct."
Manny Muriel, Special Agent in Charge of the Detroit’s IRS Criminal Investigation, stated, "As stewards of the American taxpayer’s dollars, IRS-CI special agents will act as guardians to protect against tax fraud, particularly when it is a tax preparer who commits the fraud. IRS and in particular Criminal Investigations must protect the integrity of the U.S. tax system.
The case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Raymond E. Beckering III handled the prosecution.