Date: March 5, 2020
A federal grand jury has indicted a Riverton, Ill., man, Jason Hines, 47, of the 100 block of E. Menard St., for allegedly preparing and filing false tax returns for approximately 20 clients for tax years 2015 and 2016. The indictment alleges that Hines diverted approximately $106,033 in false federal refund claims to his personal use without his clients' knowledge.
During the time of the alleged scheme, from February 2016 to April 2017, Hines was a paid tax preparer for clients. The indictment alleges that Hines submitted false claims on clients' tax returns to claim higher refunds. Hines allegedly gave some clients a 'preview' copy of their return with lower refunds and then prepared and filed higher refund claims with the IRS. To claim the higher refunds, Hines allegedly falsely reported losses associated with the sale of business vehicles, false business income and expense amounts, and falsely claimed education credits. Hines then diverted a significant amount of the refund to bank accounts he controlled and used the funds for himself.
Hines is also charged with wire fraud related to returns filed with the Illinois Department of Revenue that were likewise false. The false claims caused the Illinois returns to be false in reporting the amount of the taxpayers' federal adjusted gross income and Illinois taxable income. As a result, Hines caused a loss of approximately $30,440 to the Illinois Department of Revenue.
The U.S. Clerk of the Court will issue a summons to Hines to appear in federal court in Springfield for arraignment.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy A. Bass is representing the government in the prosecution. The IRS, Criminal Investigation Division, and the Illinois Department of Revenue conducted the investigation.
If convicted, the maximum statutory penalty for aiding in preparation and filing of a false federal tax return is up to three years in prison; for wire fraud the maximum penalty is up to 20 years in prison.
Members of the public are reminded that an indictment is merely an accusation; the defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.