TAMPA, Fla. – Thomas Johnson of Tampa, Florida, has been sentenced to three years in federal prison for his role in the preparation of well over a thousand false and fraudulent income tax returns.
The court also ordered Johnson to pay restitution to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in the amount of $1,688,931.90.
Johnson pleaded guilty on October 20, 2022.
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According to court documents, Johnson owned and operated a tax preparation business located in Seffner, Florida. Between 2015 and 2017, Johnson aided in the preparation of false and fraudulent income tax returns on behalf of his clients.
The fraudulent returns that Johnson helped to prepare contained false entries as to education credits that his clients were supposedly owed and Schedule C business losses for businesses that his clients denied having. The filing of these false tax returns led to the overpayment of tax refunds to his clients and the loss to the IRS of $1,688,931.90.
Johnson often concealed his activity by listing other persons as the preparers of most of the false returns that he created and filed. The false education credits and Schedule C business losses that Johnson submitted on behalf of his taxpayer clients generated large refunds that were unjustified. Johnson also required that his clients split those large refund amounts with him after the IRS processed these tax returns and paid those refunds.
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“While most tax return preparers provide excellent service to their clients, it only takes a few dishonest return preparers to negatively impact thousands. IRS-CI works year-round to investigate fraudulent return preparers and protect the American taxpayers’ money,” said IRS-CI Acting Special Agent in Charge Ronald A. Loecker. “Return preparers must comply with the same tax obligations as the clients they serve. No one is above the law.”
This case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service- Criminal Investigation. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jay L. Hoffer.
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