Kent County tax preparer indicted for preparing false returns

 

Date: April 14, 2021

Contact: newsroom@ci.irs.gov

GRAND RAPIDS, MI — United States Attorney Andrew Birge announced today that a federal grand jury charged Gonzalo Ramon Rodriguez, of Kent County, with aiding and assisting in the preparation and presentation of false and fraudulent tax returns, and aiding and abetting the filing of false claims against the United States Department of the Treasury.

According to the indictment, Gonzalo Rodriguez provided tax preparation services using electronic filing identification and preparer tax identification numbers that were assigned to two other e-file providers. For the tax years 2014 through 2018, Rodriguez allegedly selected the wrong filing status for his clients to maximize his preparation fees, attached Schedules C to tax returns that reported business expenses that the taxpayers did not incur, and claimed the Earned Income Tax Credit for taxpayers who did not otherwise qualify. The indictment further alleges that those actions fraudulently reduced his clients' tax liabilities and increased their refunds.

If convicted, Rodriguez faces a maximum sentence of 3 years in prison for the false and fraudulent tax return counts and 5 years in prison for the false claims counts. Rodriguez also faces a period of supervised release, restitution, and monetary penalties. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties provided by law. Upon conviction, a federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

The charges in the indictment are merely accusations and are not evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law. The government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

The Grand Rapids office of the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation is investigating this case. A date for Rodriguez's arraignment has not yet been scheduled.