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Tax Fraud: Apparently, They CAN Make This Stuff Up

Even if you or someone you know is guilty of similar conduct detailed below, an experienced litigator can help navigate the pitfalls of federal sentencing.


Manteca, Calif.: Robert Eldon Robertson and Esther Lynne Robertson have been indicted on charges of filing two false claims for federal refunds, filing liens against the former IRS commissioner, and impeding the administration of federal tax laws. According to the indictment, the Robertsons filed two false federal income tax returns claiming large refunds based on fictitious 1099-OID withholdings: one for tax year 2005 claiming a $90,538 refund and one for 2007 claiming a $313,248 refund. The indictment also charges each of the Robertsons with filing a false lien against the property of the IRS commissioner for “a sum certain amount determined as triple the stated amount of any purported determination of tax liability.”


According to the indictment, the couple also sent a bogus “international promissory note” with a request that the IRS apply the purported $800,000 face value of the note towards their outstanding tax liabilities. The IRS also received a letter containing credit card bills belonging to the Robertsons asking the IRS to pay nearly $20,000 worth of their debt.


If convicted, the Robertsons face a maximum of five years in prison for each false claim count, three years for the obstruction count and 10 years for the count of filing false liens.


Houston: Preparer Alisa Grisson has pleaded guilty to one count of making a false claim against the government. According to case records, Grisson prepared returns in her name and in the names of others and acknowledged that she knew the returns were fraudulent, reporting income that had not been earned or expenses that had not been incurred or both.


Specifically, she admitted to falsely claiming a refund of more than $7.4 million for the 2009 tax year.


Grisson stipulated that the tax loss to the government totals $674,284.62 and has agreed to pay that in restitution. She also agreed never again to aid or assist in preparing or presenting returns for any taxpayer except herself and not to oppose any civil action brought by the federal government seeking to enjoin her from preparing income tax returns for others.


Sentencing is set for Jan. 28, 2014, when Grisson faces up to five years in federal prison and a possible $250,000 fine.


Claymont, Del.: Preparer Dawn Chamberlain, 36, pled guilty to charges of false claims conspiracy and mail fraud.


According to statements made at the plea hearing and documents filed in court, from 2009 through 2012 Chamberlain filed more than 450 false federal income tax returns for others claiming more than $730,000 in credits to which her clients were not entitled.


She directed tax authorities to deposit the refunds into her own bank accounts and bank accounts of her family members, then returned less than the full refunds to clients. She also used her clients’ names, dates of birth and Social Security numbers to file false and fraudulent New York State resident income tax returns, requesting refunds of more than $210,000.


Chamberlain faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, a fine of $250,000 and three years of supervised release.


Montgomery, Ala.: Local resident Kevin Jackson has been sentenced to 102 months in federal prison and three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $150,840.49 in restitution for his role in a stolen ID refund fraud scheme.


According to court documents, Jackson possessed a storage locker in which authorities found a computer, three cellular phones, at least 500 names and SSNs of ID-theft victims and at least 70 prepaid debit cards, all tied to a scheme to obtain fraudulent federal refunds via federal returns filed in the names of stolen IDs.


Waterloo, Iowa: Former preparer Victoria A. Jones, 49, has been sentenced to 15 months in prison and a year of supervised release, as well as ordered to pay a $15,000 fine and $4,833 in restitution after being accused of preparing at least 20 fraudulent returns resulting in $30,000 and $80,000 in excess refunds, published reports said.


Jones reportedly pleaded guilty to a single count of preparation of a false tax return in August as part of an agreement with prosecutors. In the charged case, authorities said Jones listed $36,000 in inflated business expenses and other deductions and an improper $500 energy tax credit, according to reports.


Royersford, Penn.: Stephanie Patterson, 41, has pled guilty to false claims conspiracy, mail fraud, and aiding and abetting Social Security fraud.


According to hearing statements and court documents, Patterson participated in a tax-fraud conspiracy involving the filing of more than 180 false individual federal income tax returns using stolen identities. The returns sought refunds of more than $1.8 million. She and her co-conspirators received more than $800,000 on account of the fraudulent returns.


Patterson’s role involved providing names and SSNs to a co-conspirator who used the information to file the returns. Patterson also acted as a facilitator between the co-conspirators responsible for filing the returns, and those who provided additional compromised IDs. She received more than $55,000 for her part in the scheme.


Patterson will be sentenced on March 13, 2014, and faces a maximum of 20 years in prison, a fine of $250,000 and three years of supervised release.


-Jeff Stimpson of “Tax Pro Today”