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Press Release

Tax Centers of America Franchisee Sentenced to 18 Months in Prison for Preparing False Tax Returns

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Pennsylvania

PITTSBURGH, PA – The owner and operator of a Pittsburgh-area tax preparation business has been sentenced in federal court to 18 months’ incarceration and two years’ supervised release on his conviction of Aiding or Assisting in the Preparation or Filing of False Federal Income Tax Returns, United States Attorney Cindy K. Chung announced today.

United States District Judge Marilyn J. Horan imposed the sentence on John C. Thornton, age 75, of Gibsonia, Pennsylvania.

According to information presented to the court, Thornton owned and operated Tax Centers of America franchises in Pittsburgh. Between 2012 and 2017, IRS investigators uncovered high pattern of personal income tax returns containing Schedule C forms. Investigators uncovered falsification of Schedule C forms prepared and filed by Thornton and tax preparers at his business.

Judge Horan also ordered Thornton to make restitution in the amount of $511,718.50.

Assistant United States Attorney Gregory C. Melucci prosecuted this case on behalf of the government.

United States Attorney Chung commended the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation for the investigation leading to the successful prosecution of Thornton.

Updated June 22, 2022