Last week in Florida five people were sentenced to prison sentences ranging up to nine years related to their convictions on tax fraud and other related charges.  Ronald J. Scriven, the mastermind of the criminal enterprise which went on between 2007 and 2011 was sentenced to nine years in federal prison.  Scriven operated a number of tax preparation businesses and filed phony income tax returns on behalf of people recruited by him and the other members of his criminal ring, Danesa Webb, Walter Pressley, Fritznel Jacques and Michael Brown.  Pressely, at the time, was a resident of the First Step Sober Community House in Pompano Florida and he and the others recruited homeless people, recovering alcoholics and drug addicts in whose names Scriven filed fraudulent federal income tax returns which resulted in the IRS paying Scriven 7.5 million dollars in fraudulent refunds.  Scriven enlisted the people in whose names he filed income tax returns by telling them that they were eligible for “Obama money.”  Scriven also filed fraudulent income tax returns on behalf of dead people whose Social Security numbers he also managed to obtain.

TIPS

Fraudulent income tax preparers can be found everywhere and because when hire someone to prepare your income tax returns it is necessary to provide him or her with personal information that can result in your becoming a victim of identity theft or a party to a fraud, you should be particularly careful to check out the legitimacy of anyone you entrust with this job.  Here is a link to an interactive web page of the IRS that will help you understand tax return preparer credentials and enable you to look up the qualifications of anyone you may be considering to help you with the filing of your federal income tax return.  http://irs.treasury.gov/rpo/rpo.jsf