For many American taxpayers, there is always a temptation to cheat on one’s taxes to minimize the amount of money one has to pay to the government. For some people, minimizing their tax expenditures is a matter of survival and making both ends meet. However, for others, illegally concealing assets or income to minimize taxes is fueled by greed and the desire to live a luxurious lifestyle beyond one’s reasonable means. Regardless of the reasons one may commit tax fraud, the act carries serious penalties that can result in the imposition of significant fines and even a lengthy federal prison sentence.
Sherica Lacey Lee was previously convicted and sentenced to one year and one day in prison for her role in a scheme to defraud the Gulf Coast Oil Spill Fund. Lee then faced additional charges stemming from her activities in a food stamp and tax evasion scheme. According to charges advanced by the Office of the United States Attorney of Northern Alabama, Lee dodged taxes on $229,147 in business income gained through Lacey’s Tax Service. Lee apparently engaged in practices that included filing false income tax reports that significantly understated her income. Additionally, Lee was convicted on food stamp fraud due to her 2010, 2011 and 2012 applications for SNAP which claimed that she did not have any household income. Lee wrongfully received $23,757 in SNAP benefits.
Lee was sentenced to forfeit the amounts wrongfully gained from her SNAP scheme. Furthermore, she must repay the $23,757 in SNAP benefits plus interest to the USDA. Lee is also ordered to repay the amounts she wrongfully gained through tax evasion. Lee must pay to the IRS $134,448 in restitution, plus interest, to cover the costs of her tax scheme.
All individuals can face serious consequences for illegal tax acts whether the act is done to benefit themselves or another person. Tax preparer and pastor Nydia Elicier was the owner of Cox Elicier Tax. As a tax preparer Elicier would work with clients and prepare their tax returns for submission to the IRS. However, prosecutors allege that Elicier engaged in improper acts while working on client tax returns. Prosecutors charged Elicier with inflating client deductions, claiming false deductions typically reserved for teachers and educators, claiming false charitable giving, overstating medical expenses, and fraudulently claiming inflated or fabricated unreimbursed employee expenses.
Elicier was convicted on four counts by a jury of her peers in the spring of 2015. She was recently sentenced. For her role in the tax preparation scheme, Elicier was sentenced to serve two years of probation. Furthermore she is ordered to complete 100 hours. Finally, she is prohibited from engaging in any further tax preparation activities.
There is a heart-rending aspect to this tax conviction. Elicier is the pastor for the Luz de Cristo Senda Antigua Church in Worcester. She has dedicated her life to helping the less fortunate. Her activities at Cox Elicier Tax were intended to help both the less fortunate and to help her daughter run a successful business. Prior to this conviction, Elicier had no criminal record and did not appear to have any run-ins with the law. Unfortunately this case goes to show that any violation of the tax laws can result in serious consequences – even when those violations occurred with good intentions.
If you are facing charges for tax fraud you face serious consequences. Any individual can face the scrutiny of the IRS, DOJ, or other taxing authorities. That is, it does not matter if you are a professional, a member of the clergy, or a wealthy and respected individual. If you cheat on your taxes or enable others to evade or defeat tax that is legally due and owing, you will face serious consequences which may include a lengthy prison sentence.
If you are already facing tax charges you will face an experienced prosecutor whose job is to convict people facing tax charges. The stakes are simply too high to face these circumstances without experienced and strategic guidance of your own. The tax attorneys and CPAs of the Tax Law Offices of David W. Klasing can fight on your behalf. To schedule a reduced-rate tax consultation call us at 800-681-1295 or contact us online.