February’s Amusing Tax Convictions

It’s become all too common to report about unscrupulous preparers taking advantage of taxpayers, but a recent case in Chicago has a morbid twist.  Eunice Salley was convicted preparing and filing 22 false returns on behalf of her clients and demanding up to 50% of the value of the returns she filed.  Sadly, Ms. Salley was also convicted of pension fraud, as she had continued to receive – and deceive – the pension of her late grandmother, even going so far as to forge documents stating the grandmother was still alive.  She’ll serve at least seven years in prison and pay over half a million in restitution and fines.

The United States filed a complaint against a Dallas-area licensor of tax preparation businesses, and his business, from franchising or licensing the tax preparation business and from assisting in the preparing of federal income tax returns for others.  The government alleges that Kevin Murphy and his business hold over one hundred licensees in a dozen states across the country and some of these have engaged in misconduct by preparing tax returns for customers, which report fictitious businesses, inflate business expenses for legitimate businesses, claim improper education credits, and report false income in order to claim inflated tax credits.

It might seem strange to think a security guard could do it, but a federal jury convicted a Maryland security guard today of tax evasion. Gaston  Reyes did not file income tax returns with the IRS for the years 2015 through 2020 and during this period, he did not report more than $1.15 million in total wages!  Reyes also submitted false Forms W-4 to his employers on which he claimed he was exempt from federal income tax withholding, At trial, the evidence established that Reyes did not pay approximately $200,000 in income taxes over the six-year period.  He’ll face several years in prison as well as fines and restitution when he is sentenced in the spring. 


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