Date: March 4, 2020
Jacksonville, Florida – Kenyan Shondre Scott was charged with 55 counts of aiding and assisting others with the filing of false tax returns and 4 counts of filing false tax returns on his own behalf. Each count carries a maximum penalty of three years' imprisonment. The United States also seeks restitution for the tax losses arising out of the alleged criminal conduct.
According to the indictment, Scott owned and operated a tax preparation business in Jacksonville and began preparing tax returns for others in 2009. Between February 2014 and April 2018, Scott defrauded the IRS by filing returns for clients in which he falsely claimed, among other things, that the clients were eligible for certain itemized deductions for which they were not eligible. In addition, he falsely claimed that some clients had incurred business losses when they did not in fact own a business. Scott also fraudulently claimed general business credits and education credits that reduce a taxpayer's tax liability or increase a taxpayer's tax refund on a dollar for dollar basis. The indictment specifically alleges the filing of 55 false returns on behalf of 13 taxpayers for the tax years 2013 through 2017.
The indictment further alleges that Scott filed personal returns for the years 2013 through 2016 in which he fraudulently and substantially reduced the amount of his net business income and the amount of taxes owed on that income by claiming false business expenses and other false deductions and credits. The indictment also alleges that Scott fraudulently reported fake wages and a disproportionate amount of taxes being withheld from those purported wages in an attempt to lower the amount of taxes owed.
"This time of year all Americans are thinking about taxes, and the last thing they want to worry about is if their return preparer might be a crook," stated Special Agent in Charge Mary Hammond of IRS Criminal Investigation. "Unfortunately, every year, we see shady return preparers take advantage of taxpayers trying to do the right thing. Don't fall into that trap! Education is key, and we urge taxpayers to use extra caution, starting by visiting www.irs.gov to learn of criteria to consider when selecting a return preparer."
An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed a violation of the federal criminal laws, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty.
This case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation. It will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Arnold B. Corsmeier.