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Press Release

Tax preparer who falsified deductions to obtain larger refunds sentenced

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Washington
Misled members of immigrant communities who trusted him for tax preparation assistance

Tacoma – A 53-year-old resident of Graham, Washington, was sentenced today to two months in custody and three months of home detention in U.S. District Court in Tacoma for tax fraud and aiding and assisting with false tax returns, announced U.S. Attorney Nick Brown.  Philippe Mbowamba filed 29 tax returns for others and for himself with a tax loss of $141,392.  Mbowamba has agreed to make restitution for the full tax loss.

At the sentencing hearing, U.S. District Judge Benjamin H. Settle said “In the U.S., we have a tax system that depends on individuals paying their taxes voluntarily… Not only did you not report your income fully, you also helped others not report their taxes… When tax fraud is widespread, it means that the honest tax payer ends up paying more than their fair share.”

According to the plea agreement, between 2012 and 2019, Mbowamba operated a tax preparation business.  An analysis of the returns Mbowamba filed, revealed that he had knowingly claimed fraudulent deductions and tax credits on behalf of many of his clients.  Most of the clients were immigrants from Africa who were referred to Mbowamba by other members of the immigrant community. Mbowamba, a naturalized U.S. citizen, had originally immigrated from the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  The immigrants trusted Mbowamba and were unaware of the false information on their tax returns. 

In addition to false returns for other people, Mbowamba falsified his own return, failing to report more than $56,000 in income for tax year 2014.  The tax loss on that one return was $26,531. 

Under the terms of the plea agreement, the IRS may still level additional civil tax, penalties, and/or interest.  Mbowamba has accepted a permanent injunction, barring him from preparing tax returns for anyone other than himself.

The case was investigated by Internal Revenue Service: Criminal Investigation (IRS:CI).

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Zachery Dillon.

Contact

Press contact for the U.S. Attorney’s Office is Communications Director Emily Langlie at (206) 553-4110 or Emily.Langlie@usdoj.gov.

Updated January 30, 2023

Topic
Tax
Press Release Number: 8