Here we are in Tax Season “for real” and, as always, unscrupulous preparers are leading the charge to the prison!
The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida has permanently enjoined a Miami-based tax return preparer Arnold Zio from preparing returns for others and from owning, managing, or working at any tax return preparation business in the future. The original charges against Zio alleged that he prepared tax returns claiming fabricated business income and expenses, false tax deductions and charitable contributions. It also alleged that Zio diverted customer refunds into his own bank account and failed to return COVID-19 stimulus funds that were improperly deposited into his account. There’s no telling where this might end up, but Mr. Zio is certainly in hot water now, and prison may be the end result.
Over in Texas, a similar issue was addressed when the United States filed a complaint seeking to bar a North Texas-area tax return preparer from preparing federal income tax returns for others. The government alleges Jennifer Murley and her tax preparation business prepared over 2,200 federal income tax returns and filed them during 2019 through 2022. Allegedly, a number of these tax returns overstated the customers’ tax refunds by fabricating costs and inflating business losses to reduce income. The case of the United States alleges these actions costs the government up to $2 million in lost revenue.
Next door to Texas, in Louisiana, a carbon copy of that case is underway, too! The U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana has been asked to bar a Louisiana tax return preparer and her business from assisting in the preparing of federal income tax returns for others. The complaint alleges that Whylithia R. Robinson prepared and filed 2,629 federal income tax returns for customers though her company from 2019–2021. Allegedly, Robinson displayed a pattern of filing tax returns during this period that understated the customer’s tax liabilities and overstated tax refunds. It never seems to end!