Date: February 11, 2020
LOS ANGELES — A Glendale-based tax preparer was arrested today on a federal grand jury indictment charging him with defrauding the U.S. Treasury of more than $645,000 in fraudulent tax refunds.
Vilen Tavatyan of Burbank, a registered tax preparer, was charged with 19 counts of assisting in and advising the preparation of false tax returns and 10 counts of wire fraud, according to an indictment returned last week.
Between February 2014 to April 2016, Tavatyan boosted his business and solicited new clients by using his reputation for obtaining large income tax refunds for his clients, according to the indictment. Upon meeting a new client, Tavatyan knowingly prepared a false federal income tax return for them with false business expenses or fictitious and/or inflated deductions, the indictment alleges.
Tavatyan would then allegedly electronically file the fraudulent tax forms to the Internal Revenue Service, in doing so, fraudulently induced the Treasury to disburse over $645,000 in refunds to which he knew his clients were not entitled, according to the indictment. Tavatyan's scheme allegedly caused at least 128 tax audits of Tavatyan's clients by the IRS.
At his arraignment, Tavatyan was ordered by the Judge not to prepare taxes as part of his pre-trial release conditions.
If convicted, Tavatyan would face a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison for each count of wire fraud and three years in federal prison for each count of assisting in the preparation of false tax returns.
"Unscrupulous tax return preparers that solicit clients with false promises of large refunds not only victimize their clients but also seek to steal vital government funds, and they will be sought out by IRS Criminal Investigation," said Special Agent in Charge Ryan L. Korner. "Mr. Tavatyan's indictment and arrest demonstrate the determination and hard work of our Special Agents to bring these alleged fraudsters to justice, and in doing so, protect the public trust."
The charges and allegations contained in the indictment are merely accusations, and the defendant is considered innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
IRS Criminal Investigation is investigating this matter.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Dan G. Boyle of the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Central District of California.