Tax fraud blotter: obvious red flags

Sister act; a day to think about it; trap car; and other highlights from recent tax cases.

Orlando, Florida: Petra Gomez, who pleaded guilty in November, has been sentenced to eight years in prison for conspiracy to defraud the government and for tax evasion. His sister, Jakeline Lumucso, previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the government and was sentenced to four years in prison.

From January 2012 to June 2016, Gomez and Lumucso filed more than 16,000 false federal returns, resulting in nearly $ 25 million in fraudulent refunds. The sisters created five different tax preparation companies and, in some cases, opened the companies in the name of others to hide the fraud.

In filing her 2014 return, Gomez also did not report more than $ 800,000 in income; He claimed $ 213,434 in earnings when in fact he had earned $ 1,110,508.

The court also ordered Gomez and Lumucso to pay $ 24,940,495 in restitution to the IRS. Gomez was ordered to pay an additional $ 510,999 to the IRS for tax evasion.

Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania: Anthony DiBona, 58, was sentenced to one day in prison and two years of supervised release, with six months of home confinement with electronic monitoring, for his conviction for converting government funds and submitting false statements.

In April 2013, DiBona received and falsely converted for his own use $ 57,242 in grant funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. When filing your tax returns for tax years 2013 through 2015, you omitted all grant income from your 1040s.

After the IRS discovered that DiBona had received undeclared income from the grant, it was informed that the income from the grant was taxable. DiBona, through a tax preparer, filed a first set of amended returns for the relevant tax years and added the grant proceeds. But in July 2018, he went to a different preparer and filed a second set of amended returns eliminating the grant proceeds. Similarly, DiBona also filed an original return for tax year 2017 and omitted its grant income.

This resulted in a total tax loss of $ 19,809.

He was also ordered to pay $ 25,264.07 in restitution to the IRS and $ 57,242 in restitution to FEMA, among other conditions.

New York: Steven J. Kwestel, owner of an ambulance service, pleaded guilty to failure to pay payroll taxes.

It operated Courtesy Transportation Inc., a Brooklyn company that provided ambulance services. From 2013 to 2019, he withheld payroll taxes from his employees’ paychecks, but did not pay the IRS $ 1,302,841 in taxes owed.

The sentence is October 20. He faces a maximum of five years in prison, as well as a period of supervised release, restitution and monetary penalties. It has agreed to return more than $ 1.2 million.

Palm Beach, Florida: A federal court has permanently prohibited four tax preparers from preparing federal income tax returns for others and from owning or operating any tax return business.

In issuing an injunction against Marcus Alty, Jeanait Mathurin, Prestige Tax Services Inc. (dba Just Tax Services), and Excellent Tax Services, the court found that the defendants prepared false or fraudulent claim statements for the American Opportunity Tax Credit. and Earned Income. Tax credit, often based on manufactured business income and expenses. The order further contends that the defendants prepared statements that falsely claimed fuel tax credits and that they reported false education expenses.

The complaint against the defendants alleged that their fraudulent activities resulted in a loss to the Treasury of more than $ 5 million.

New York: Bank of NT Butterfield & Son Ltd. agreed to pay $ 5.6 million to the US for helping US taxpayer-clients open and maintain undeclared foreign bank accounts from 2001 to 2013.

The agreement was based on Butterfield’s “extraordinary cooperation,” authorities said, including his efforts to provide files for non-compliant US taxpayer-clients, and states that Butterfield will not be criminally prosecuted.

Butterfield must lose $ 4.896 million to the United States, representing certain fees it earned by helping its clients open and maintain these undeclared accounts, and pay $ 704,000 in restitution to the IRS, the approximate unpaid taxes arising from the Tax evasion by Butterfield clients. .

Butterfield admitted that he knew or should have known that certain taxpayers were using their accounts to evade their US tax obligations, acknowledging that it helped certain clients hide their beneficial ownership of undeclared assets held in foreign bank accounts from the IRS. The tactics included maintaining undeclared accounts for clients that were in the hands of bogus entities; and opening accounts and facilitating fund transfers for US clients despite obvious red flags that clients were using the accounts to hold undeclared assets or commit tax evasion.

In 2013, Butterfield implemented remedial measures to stop helping taxpayers evade federal income taxes. Butterfield’s cooperation included efforts to facilitate the production of some 386 client files for non-compliant taxpayers.

Boise, Idaho: Texas tax preparer Bushambale Kashunga has settled an investigation into alleged violations of the Idaho Consumer Protection Act.

The Idaho attorney general began investigating Kashunga’s practices after the state audited the statements of 106 people who had used Kashunga, of Wichita Falls, Texas, as their preparer. The state tax commission found excessively inflated deductions and expenses for Kashunga’s clients, all of whom were members of the Idaho refugee community.

Kashunga has denied the allegations.

Under the agreement, Kashunga is prohibited from preparing Idaho returns. You have paid $ 51,640 to reimburse Idaho customers who ended up with tax liabilities as a result of your preparation. It also agreed to reimburse Idaho AG $ 5,000 for research costs.

Washington DC: Resident Devell Lincoln, 55, has been convicted of conspiring to commit theft of public money, theft of public money and aggravated identity theft.

From 2011 to 2013, Lincoln conspired with Stephanie Twyman and others to cash fraudulently obtained tax refund checks by filing false federal tax returns on behalf of others. In all, the conspirators collected more than $ 500,000 in fraudulent refunds at a check cashing business, and Lincoln deposited more than $ 150,000 in fraudulent refunds using bank accounts he controlled.

While two of these accounts were in the name of Lincoln, one bank account was in the name of a third party who had passed away and another in the name of a company registered in the name of the deceased person.

Lincoln faces a minimum of two years in prison for aggravated identity theft, five years for conspiracy and 10 years for theft of public money. You also face a period of supervised release, restitution, forfeiture, and monetary penalties.

Harrington, Delaware: Corporate Secretary Sara Collins pleaded guilty to intentionally failing to pay payroll taxes on behalf of a local business.

Collins served as a corporate secretary for a plumbing, heating, and air conditioning business for more than 20 years. From the first quarter of 2013 to the last quarter of 2019, you did not file quarterly federal forms and paid less than $ 37,000 in payroll taxes during those six years.

In total, Collins did not pay more than $ 930,000 to the IRS.

He pleaded guilty to five counts of willful tax failure and faces a maximum of five years in prison for each count. The sentence is November 17.

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