Last week, a federal jury convicted an Ohio business owner of a myriad of financial and tax crimes relating to a tax preparation scheme. The investigation, prosecution, and conviction are evidence of the need to obtain representation by a criminal defense tax attorney at the first sign of trouble.
According to a press release by the Department of Justice, Fesum Ogbazion, 44, was the CEO of ITS (Instant Tax Service) Financial LLC. Prosecutors alleged that ITS advertisements offered potential customers refund anticipation loans through a third-party lender. A refund participation loan is a loan that is made with the anticipation of the borrower receiving a tax refund and the use of those funds to repay the loan plus interest. Court documents showed that ITS collected tax information from loan applicants that had not yet filed their tax return, in order to verify the anticipated refund amount. ITS also instructed customers to fill out a loan application. With the above information in-hand, ITS, without consent, filed tax returns and claimed refunds on behalf of the customers who had only sought to apply for a loan. ITS charged clients high preparation fees and within the five year period between 2006 and 2011, collected over $70 million in fees across their approximately 1,100 locations.
Additionally, Ogbazion was convicted of failure to pay over $1.3 million of employment taxes in 2009 and 2010. Finally, the defendant attempted to avoid the payment of taxes levied by the IRS by moving money to accounts controlled by nominee entities. All in all, Ogbazion was charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, bank fraud, evasion of employment taxes and failure to pay over employment taxes. He faces up to 80 years in a federal prison.
As taxes are the primary source of funding for the federal government, the IRS and Department of Justice are actively searching for those who are being less than truthful in their annual filings (or lack thereof). Whether you are looking to ensure that you are in compliance with federal or state tax laws or being investigated by tax authorities, having an experienced Criminal Tax Defense Attorney that is dually-licensed as a CPA lead the charge is in your best interest. A Tax Attorney brings extensive education in Constitutional law, criminal law, and criminal tax procedure to the table and can advise on when it is best to make statements to taxing authorities and when it isn’t.
The Tax, Business and Accounting professionals at the Tax Law Offices of David W. Klasing have experience in representing taxpayers from all walks of life in a myriad of different civil and criminal tax situations. Whether you are in need of complex tax compliance assistance or representation in a federal or state criminal tax investigation, our zealous advocates are ready to develop a strategy tailored for your particular needs. Don’t let the fear of financially devastating penalties or time in federal prison overtake your life. Contact the Tax Law Offices of David W. Klasing today for a reduced-rate consultation.
Here is a link to our YouTube channel: click here!
Here is a link to our practice overview videos on:
Warning signs an audit has gone criminal
What is an eggshell tax audit?
What is an effective tax defense in an IRS eggshell tax audit?
So you cheated on your taxes and you are under a tax audit
Why should I hire a tax attorney to represent me in a tax audit?
Common issues when facing a sales tax audit
Criminal Tax Evasion