November’s Amusing Tax Convictions

Normally, we cover “true” tax crimes here, but let’s face it, there are a LOT of worries when it comes to how your data and information can be used for other’s profits.  Case in point:  Melvin Orellana of Rome, Georgia, was a computer support employee for a company that provided tax software to return preparation businesses throughout the United States.  Last month, he plead guilty to stealing and selling the data of approximately 12,000 taxpayers whose returns were prepared by businesses using the tax software.  He’ll be sentenced early in 2023, but it’s expected that he’ll not only spend time in prison, but will also be on probation for several years after his release. 

A little further south in Georgia, Statesboro, to be exact, a former City Councilman and business owner, William Britt, was convicted of tax evasion for manipulating the income of several bars he and others owned in the area.  Evidence admitted into the court showed that Britt and the other true owners skimmed cash from the establishments and disbursed it amongst themselves in accordance with their ownership percentages without reporting that income to the IRS.  He’ll spend time in prison as well as having to pay restitution of nearly $400,000. 

A Mississippi man, Orland Reed, was sentenced to 27 months in prison for preparing false tax returns for his clients.  According to court documents and statements made in court, Reed worked at a Gulfport tax return preparation business. Between 2012 and 2014, Reed prepared tax returns for clients that included one or more false items, including false education credits, dependent information, federal income tax withholdings, and retirement contributions to generate larger refunds from the IRS than the clients were entitled to receive. At times, Reed also listed a different tax preparer even though he prepared the returns himself.  Beyond his prison sentence, Reed will serve one year of supervised release and to pay $69,185 in restitution to the United States government.


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