Date: January 30, 2020
PHILADELPHIA – Abdoulaye Coumbassa of Philadelphia, PA was sentenced to 24 months' imprisonment, one year supervised release, and ordered to pay $224,478 in restitution to the IRS by United States District Court Judge R. Barclay Surrick for preparing and filing false tax returns for clients of his tax preparation business, Abbi Tax Services and Accounting, in Philadelphia.
The defendant pleaded guilty in October 2019 to the offense of aiding and assisting in the preparation of false returns, and agreed with an estimate of the tax losses he caused exceeding $2 million. From at least 2012 to 2015, Coumbassa prepared and filed fraudulent Income Tax Returns, and related forms and schedules, on behalf of his clients. Coumbassa primarily falsified these returns by attaching false 'Schedule C' forms to the clients' returns. These 'Schedule C' forms falsely claimed that the client had a business that lost money, and the inclusion of these false Schedules offset the clients' taxable income -- thereby either inflating the refunds his clients would otherwise be owed, or causing entitlement to refunds where taxes should have been owed.
"Tax refunds should only be issued to taxpayers who are entitled to them," said IRS Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge Guy Ficco. "Falsifying a tax return to obtain or bolster a tax refund is a crime; one that the courts take very seriously, as evidenced by the sentence Mr. Coumbassa received."
"Tax preparers are supposed to be part of the gatekeeping system that ensures that our tax laws are followed. Here, the defendant did just the opposite and planned a massive fraud," said U.S. Attorney McSwain. "When our tax laws are ignored, especially to this extent, we all lose. The defendant not only broke the law, but he also victimized individuals who simply wanted to do the right thing and pay their taxes – and they are now working to get their fiscal lives back in order. This sentence should send a message to tax cheats: don't do it, or else my Office will investigate your crimes and you may soon be headed to jail."
The case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service, and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Bea L. Witzleben and Department of Justice Tax Division Trial Attorney Sarah Ranney.