Tampa man charged with preparing false tax returns


Date: April 4, 2023

Contact: newsroom@ci.irs.gov

Tampa, FL — United States Attorney Roger B. Handberg announces the return of an indictment charging Kenneth Fowler with three counts of making and filing false federal income tax returns. If convicted, Fowler faces a maximum penalty of three years' imprisonment as to each count.

According to the indictment, between the end of December 2013 and August 2018, Fowler, who was then working as a payroll coordinator at the Salvation Army Suncoast Adult Rehabilitation Center in St. Peterburg, engaged in a scheme to embezzle funds from the Salvation Army. Fowler falsely altered records to reflect that employees who had left the employment of the Salvation Army were still on its payroll so that Fowler could collect their paychecks and ultimately forge their signatures and deposit those checks into his own personal bank accounts. Fowler also misdirected direct deposit checks from the former employees' bank accounts into his own personal bank account. In this manner, Fowler obtained more than $239,000 in Salvation Army funds to which he was not entitled. He then failed to include those stolen funds as income on his 2016, 2017, and 2018 Individual Income Tax Returns. By doing so, he avoided the payment of substantial taxes due and owing to the United States.

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, with assistance from the Pinellas Park Police Department. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jay L. Hoffer.