Tax return preparer sentenced in fraud scheme involving over 160 victims


Date: May 20, 2022


BAY CITY  — A Gladwin, Michigan man was sentenced yesterday to 46 months' imprisonment for wire fraud and tax evasion, announced United States Attorney Dawn N. Ison.

Ison was joined in the announcement by Special Agent in Charge Sarah Kull, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation.

Mark Alan Patterson was a tax return preparer in Beaverton, Michigan who pleaded guilty to wire fraud and tax evasion in connection with a scheme to steal the tax refunds of over 160 clients. Patterson admitted to stealing over $600,000 as part of his scheme.

"Mr. Patterson violated the trust of his clients. Rather than carry out his ethical responsibilities as a tax return preparer, this defendant stole money from his clients to enrich himself," stated U.S. Attorney Ison. "Through the efforts of the IRS agents in the case and Assistant U.S. Attorney Jules DePorre, each and every victim in this case will receive as much restitution as possible."

According to court documents, Patterson worked as a tax return preparer for Schuster Tax Service in Beaverton, Michigan. From 2015 until February 2020, Patterson stole various portions of clients' tax refunds by directing portions of clients' tax refunds into bank accounts that Patterson controlled. Patterson did not inform the clients that he was taking the money from their tax refunds and instead deceived them by giving them unfiled versions of returns showing that they had a smaller refund amount.

In late February of 2020, Jennifer Schuster Semer, owner of Schuster Tax Service, informed law enforcement officers that Patterson, her former employee, had engaged in a potential fraud scheme. Ms. Semer discovered client tax returns dating back to 2015 that had refunds electronically diverted, in part, to bank accounts under Patterson's control. Ms. Semer immediately contacted the Beaverton Police Department who greatly assisted throughout the IRS investigation.

United States Attorney Dawn Ison, in announcing the sentence, praised Ms. Semer and Brad Davis, chief of the Beaverton Police Department for their cooperation.