Tampa man arrested and charged with preparation of false tax returns


Date: January 24, 2022

Contact: newsroom@ci.irs.gov

Tampa, FL — United States Attorney Roger B. Handberg announces the arrest and unsealing of an indictment charging Thomas Johnson with 14 counts of aiding in the preparation and filing of false tax returns. Johnson faces a maximum penalty of three years in federal prison for each count. He made his initial appearance in federal court in Miami on January 21, 2022.

The indictment alleges that between February 2015 and February 2017, Johnson had a business located in the Middle District of Florida through which he offered his services to clients to prepare their income tax returns. During that time period, Johnson prepared and helped in the filing of numerous tax returns which contained false and fraudulent entries as to taxpayer credits and deductions. As a consequence of those false statements, Johnson's clients received tax refunds to which they were not entitled. Johnson charged his clients a large fee for his services and required them to split the refund proceeds with him once they received their refund money from the IRS. The total of the unwarranted refunds, which resulted from the false and fraudulent tax returns charged in the indictment, exceeds $155,000.

Belizean law enforcement officials arrested Johnson on January 19, 2022, at his San Pedro, Belize residence for immigration violations. The following day, he was escorted by U.S. federal agents to Miami. The Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation Mexico City Attaché Post coordinated with the U.S. Department of State's Diplomatic Security Service, the U.S. Marshals Service, the Belize Police Department, and Belize Immigration to return Johnson to the United States to face these federal charges.

An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed one or more violations of federal criminal law, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty.

This case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jay L. Hoffer.