Tax Fraud Blotter: Imaginary Incomes


A roundup of our favorite recent tax fraud cases.

Lawrence, Mass.: Preparer Leonidas Nunez, 61, has been sentenced to 20 months in prison and two years of supervised release and been ordered to pay $221,964 restitution to the IRS after pleading guilty last year to one count of conspiring to defraud the IRS and six counts of submitting false claims for refunds.

From October 2010 through April 2011, Nunez conspired with others to defraud the IRS with false income tax returns that alleged income earned by more than 100 Puerto Rican residents who had not had federal income tax withheld and who were not required to file income tax returns in the U.S. Nunez and his co-conspirators directed the IRS to deposit the fraudulent refunds into bank accounts controlled by Nunez and his co-conspirators.

Together, they filed more 100 fraudulent federal returns for the tax year 2010, resulting in more than $550,000 in fraudulent claims and more than $220,000 in refunds.

Fulshear, Texas: Tax prep-business manager Tamny Denise Westbrooks, 53, has been sentenced to 40 months in prison following her conviction on three counts of filing false federal tax returns and one count of corruptly endeavoring to obstruct and impede internal revenue laws. She was also ordered to serve a year of supervised release and to pay restitution of $273,460 to the IRS.

Authorities said that Westbrooks, convicted in November, was the day-to-day manager of JATS Tax Service in Charlotte, N.C., working as an independent contractor. She underreported her net profits by inflating her business expenses for tax years 2007, 2008 and 2009; she also obstructed the IRS by filing false returns for herself and others and by paying workers in cash while failing to file W-2s or 1099s.

Fairview, N.J.: Preparer Sharon Ashby, 38, has pleaded guilty to one count of making false claims to the federal government, according to published reports. Ashby reportedly admitted to filing dozens of phony returns for three years, intentionally including fraudulent employment information on W‑2s and claiming deductions to which clients were not entitled.

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