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August 23, 2022

Tax Preparer Sentenced after Defrauding the Internal Revenue Service

On June 23, 2022, in the Southern District of Texas, Brian Washington was sentenced for providing a false statement on an income tax return. Washington pled guilty to this charge on February, 25, 2022.

According to the court documents, during the 2014 through 2015 tax filing seasons, Washington worked as a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) return preparer at The Neighborhood Tax Center. VITA is a nationwide initiative sponsored by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to provide help with income tax filing to people with low to moderate income levels. While volunteering in the VITA program, Washington took taxpayer return information from VITA locations to prepare and file taxpayers’ returns from his residence, without authorization.

From on or about January 1, 2015, until approximately April 15, 2018, Washington fraudulently prepared the taxpayers’ IRS Forms 1040, U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, by using false schedules and tax credits to claim larger refunds than what the taxpayers were entitled to receive. Washington paid the taxpayers the refund they expected, while keeping the portion of the refund that had been falsely claimed. During the course of the scheme, Washington filed approximately 258 income tax returns, claiming refunds totaling $1,196,871.

Washington received 10 months’ imprisonment, one year of supervised release, and was ordered to pay $129,011 in restitution.

Source:  The facts in this case narrative come from the following publicly available documents: S.D. Tex., Indict., filed October 1, 2019; and Judgement, filed June 23, 2022.