Alabama tax preparer sentenced for false tax return scheme


Defendant and co-conspirators filed thousands of false client returns causing more than $3.5 million in fraudulent claims

Date: April 17, 2024


An Alabama man was sentenced yesterday to 30 months in prison for conspiring to prepare and file false tax returns for clients in Jackson, Mississippi, and for preparing false returns.

According to court documents and evidence presented in court, Jonathan Barefoot worked at Sunbelt Tax Service in Jackson. He conspired with others to claim inflated tax refunds for clients by reporting false education credits, itemized deductions and business profits or losses on their clients’ tax returns. Over the years, Barefoot and his co-conspirators prepared thousands of fraudulent returns, causing over $3.5 million in tax loss to the IRS.

In addition to his prison sentence, U.S. District Court Judge Daniel P. Jordan III for the Southern District of Mississippi ordered Barefoot to serve one year of supervised release.

Four of Barefoot’s co-conspirators have previously received the following sentences:

  • Adam Earnest: 100 months in prison;
  • Christopher Randell: 70 months in prison;
  • James Klish: 50 months in prison; and
  • John Wells: 15 months in prison.

Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stuart Goldberg of the Justice Department's Tax Division made the announcement.

IRS Criminal Investigation investigated the case.

Trial Attorneys Patrick Elwell, Zachary Cobb and Mary Frances Richardson of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and Assistant U.S. Attorney Bert Carraway for the Southern District of Mississippi prosecuted the case.