Houma man arrested for felony tax evasion

 

Vincent J. Malbrough

Vincent J. Malbrough

BATON ROUGE – A Houma man faces multiple felony charges for failing to report and pay state income taxes on hundreds of thousands of dollars in income.

Vincent J. Malbrough, Jr. (Booking Photo), of 204 Malibou Boulevard in Houma, is accused of failing to file Louisiana resident income tax returns for the tax years 2009 through 2013. During those years, he failed to report $251,450 in income. He owes the State of Louisiana an estimated $23,789 in taxes.

Malbrough was booked into the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison on Wednesday, January 27 on charges of Criminal Penalty for Evasion of Tax and Penalty for Failure to File.

Malbrough is the 59th person arrested under a joint anti-tax fraud initiative of the Louisiana Department of Revenue and Attorney General Jeff Landry’s office.

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Interagency state crackdown on tax fraud yields multiple arrests

BATON ROUGE – Multiple arrests this week bring to 58 the number of people jailed for tax fraud under a joint initiative of the Louisiana Department of Revenue (LDR) and Attorney General Jeff Landry’s office.

“Investigating and prosecuting tax fraud remains a top priority of the Department of Revenue,” Secretary of Revenue Kimberly Robinson said. “These arrests demonstrate that our partnership with the A.G.’s office and other agencies is producing tangible results for Louisiana taxpayers.”

Three suspects were arrested this week and booked into the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison.

Michael Wayne Chauncy (Booking Photo) faces multiple felony charges for failing to report and pay taxes on nearly a half-million dollars in income.

Investigators say Chauncy did not file state individual income tax returns for the tax years 2007 through 2014. During that period, from 2011 through 2014, records show he earned $445,337 as a used car sales manager at a dealership in Gonzales.

Chauncy owes an estimated $25,032 in taxes on the unreported income. He was charged on Wednesday, January 20 with Penalty for Failure to File and Evasion of Tax.

In a separate case, Tiffany L. Polk (Booking Photo) is charged with multiple felonies related to her work as a tax preparer. Investigators say Polk submitted state income tax returns for clients that contained fraudulent claims for tax credits and tax deductions.

In one case, Polk is accused of submitting state and federal income tax returns without the taxpayer’s knowledge, directing the refunds to a bank account she set up in the taxpayer’s name, and transferring the money to her own bank account. She was charged on Wednesday, January 20 with Identity Theft, Attempted Theft, Computer Fraud and Filing or Maintaining False Public Records.

And in the third case this week, Chad William Reeves (Booking Photo) is accused of underreporting the sale price of used cars at his dealership, remitting too little sales tax, and pocketing the difference.

Investigators say that in 2014, Reeves, owner of Baton Rouge Sports & Imports, reported 62 vehicle sales to the state Office of Motor Vehicles (OMV) at drastically lower prices than he actually sold them for. The scheme defrauded the state of $17,400 in sales taxes.

Reeves, who has not filed a state individual income tax return since 2011, is accused also of failing to report more than $100,000 in personal income. He was charged on Thursday, January 21 with Evasion of Tax, Theft, Failing to Account for State Tax Monies and Injuring Public Records.

The Louisiana Used Motor Vehicle Commission (LUMVC) worked closely with the LDR Criminal Investigation Division on the Reeves case.

“The used motor vehicle dealer’s license for Baton Rouge Sports & Imports, Inc. is currently suspended, as well as the licenses for Chad Reeves and all affiliated salespersons,” LUMVC Executive Director Derek Parnell said. “Further investigations into the dealer’s fraudulent activities are being conducted and more violations are pending.”

Since it began in 2013, the state’s anti-tax fraud crackdown has stopped $21 million in fraudulent refunds from being issued and collected $500,000 in restitution from those arrested.

As tax-filing season begins, LDR is intensifying its fraud detection program. Because of the effort to protect Louisiana citizens from identity theft and other forms of fraud, taxpayers who file their returns electronically can expect their refunds within 60 days of filing. Those who file paper returns should expect to wait 12 to 14 weeks.

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Lafayette business owner arrested for felony tax evasion

Alan J. Bernard

Alan J. Bernard

BATON ROUGE – A Lafayette man faces multiple felony charges for failing to report and pay taxes on hundreds of thousands of dollars in income.

Alan J. Bernard, of 721 W. Gloria Switch Road in Lafayette, is the 54th person arrested under a joint anti-fraud initiative of the Louisiana Department of Revenue (LDR) and the state Attorney General’s office.

Investigators with the LDR Criminal Investigation Division say that as the owner of A-Team Home Improvements, LLC, Bernard filed state tax returns reporting no income from that business in 2012 and 2013. But banking records obtained by subpoena and Bernard’s federal tax returns show the business produced income of $144,036.97 in 2012 and $324,396.75 in 2013. Bernard failed to pay any state corporate, sales, or income tax on those amounts.

Bernard was booked Tuesday into the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison on charges of criminal penalty for evasion of tax, criminal penalty for failing to account for state tax monies and filing or maintaining false public records.

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Baton Rouge woman arrested for felony tax evasion

Tanya Rivers

Tanya Rivers

BATON ROUGE – A Baton Rouge woman is charged with felony tax evasion for failing to report hundreds of thousands of dollars in income.

Investigators say from 2010 through 2012, Tanya Tonette Rivers (Booking Photo) failed to file state income tax returns on more than $268,000 in earnings, and failed to pay $12,752 in taxes.

During the investigation, Rivers failed to respond to numerous attempts to contact her about her tax filing discrepancies.

Rivers is the 53rd person arrested under a joint anti-fraud initiative of the Louisiana Department of Revenue and the state Attorney General’s Office. She was booked Tuesday into the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison on state charges of Evasion of Tax and Failure to File.

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Married tax-preparer couple arrested for fraud

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Constance Brown-Chester

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James Terry Chester

BATON ROUGE – The married owners of a Lafayette tax preparation business face dozens of felony charges for a fraud scheme that cost Louisiana taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars.

James Terry Chester and Constance Brown-Chester (Booking Photos), of 107 Kingswood Drive in Lafayette, are accused of filing fraudulent state income tax returns for their clients and themselves.

Investigators with the Louisiana Department of Revenue say the Chesters, owners of C&B Tax Service, submitted state tax returns containing fabricated business losses for clients who had sustained no losses and in many cases were not business owners. In addition, Constance Brown-Chester filed returns on behalf of C&B Tax Service claiming business losses that could not be verified with any documentation.

The scheme resulted in $226,000 in fraudulent income tax refunds.

James Chester is charged with five counts each of Computer Fraud and Filing or Maintaining False Public Records. Constance Brown Chester is charged with 11 counts each of Computer Fraud and Filing or Maintaining False Public Records. Each was booked on Wednesday, October 14 into the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison.

These arrests bring to 52 the number of suspects charged under a joint anti-fraud initiative of the Department of Revenue and the state Attorney General’s Office.

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Gretna tax preparer is 50th person arrested in statewide tax fraud crackdown

Joyce Marie Gaines

Joyce Marie Gaines

BATON ROUGE – The owner of a Gretna tax preparation business is the 50th person arrested under a statewide initiative to crack down on tax fraud in Louisiana.

Joyce M. Gaines of Harvey (Booking Photo) is owner of Tax Town, LLC. She is accused of filing state income tax returns containing fabricated business losses for hundreds of clients, many of whom were not business owners. The scheme resulted in more than a quarter-million dollars in fraudulent state income tax refunds.

Gaines was booked into the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison on Thursday, September 24, on charges of Filing or Maintaining False Public Records and Illegal Transmission of Monetary Funds. Two of her employees, Tamicka Kitts and Raquel Walker, were arrested on the same charges on Tuesday, September 22.

Gaines is one of dozens of tax preparers, business operators and individual taxpayers arrested since the Louisiana Department of Revenue (LDR) and the Office of the Louisiana Attorney General joined forces in 2013 to investigate and prosecute tax fraud.

When data indicated several years ago that tax fraud was on the rise, LDR hired two full-time investigators and assigned them to work with Louisiana Department of Justice on the issue.

“Louisiana taxpayers need and deserve a strong enforcement program to stop criminals from taking advantage of the system,” Secretary of Revenue Tim Barfield said. “This milestone demonstrates the investment is paying off.”

Since the joint anti-fraud crackdown began in March 2013, LDR has recovered $416,638 in court-ordered restitution of fraudulent refunds. There have been 17 criminal convictions.

“When someone cheats the system by committing tax fraud, the hard working, tax-paying citizens of Louisiana are left with the bill,” Attorney General Buddy Caldwell said. “We are achieving great results through our partnership with the Department of Revenue and will continue to take action against those who threaten the vital services we all depend on.”

The anti-tax fraud initiative is one part of a broader LDR effort to ensure the integrity of the tax refund system. Since 2014, the department has saved taxpayers more than $50 million through identity verification, restitution payments, investigation collections, refund desk audits and reviews, and the Tax Refund Intercept Program (TRIP), which stops fraudulent refunds before they are issued.

Protect yourself from fraud

Even if someone else prepares your tax return, you are legally accountable for its content. If you receive unearned refunds due to a fraudulent return, you are responsible for making restitution to the state. Protect yourself by choosing a reputable tax preparer.

Tips for selecting a preparer:

  • Choose a preparer who will be available to answer questions after the return has been filed
  • Find out what the preparer’s service fees are before the return is prepared
  • Avoid preparers who base their fee on a percentage of the amount of your refund or who claim they can obtain larger refunds than other preparers without first reviewing your returns
  • Avoid tax preparers who ask you to sign a blank tax form
  • Before signing your return, carefully review it and ask questions
  • Ask any tax preparer for references
  • Check to see if the tax preparer has any questionable history with the Better Business Bureau, the state’s board of accountancy for CPAs or the state’s bar association
  • Check to see if the tax preparer belongs to a professional organization that requires its members to pursue continuing education and holds them accountable to a code of ethics
  • Check to see if the tax preparer has a proper Preparer Tax Identification Number (“PTIN”) from the Internal Revenue Service, which is necessary for filing federal tax returns
  • Ensure that the IRS has not obtained a permanent injunction prohibiting the tax preparer from preparing federal tax returns
  • Always question entries on your return that you do not understand; never sign a blank return
  • Insist that the tax preparer sign the return and provide appropriate taxpayer information on the return

Traits of a reputable preparer:

  • They ask multiple questions to determine whether expenses, deductions and other items qualify as legitimate tax deductions
  • They remind clients they should keep careful and complete records in order to substantiate information contained on their tax return
  • They provide their clients with a copy of their completed return for their records

They respond to contacts made by their clients in a reasonable period of time

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New Orleans area tax preparers arrested for fraud

Raquel Walker

Raquel Walker

Tamicka Kitts

Tamicka Kitts

BATON ROUGE – Two employees of a Gretna tax preparation business face multiple felony charges for a criminal scheme resulting in more than a quarter-million dollars in fraudulent state income tax refunds.

Raquel M. Walker of Harvey (Booking photo), and Tamicka D. Kitts of Gretna (Booking photo) are employees of Tax Town, LLC.  Investigators with the Louisiana Department of Revenue say they filed state income tax returns containing fabricated business losses for hundreds of clients who had reported no losses, and who in many cases were not business owners. The tax filings resulted in the state issuing more than $250,000 in fraudulent refunds.

Kitts was convicted in federal court in 2004 for similar activities.

Fabricated business losses are a common fraud technique used by unscrupulous tax preparers to inflate their fees for more complex tax filings, and to ensure repeat business from clients. But even when tax preparers commit fraud, taxpayers are responsible for paying back the improperly issued refunds. The Department of Revenue encourages taxpayers to examine carefully all tax documents filed on their behalf.

Tamicka Kitts and Raquel Walker were booked into the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison on Tuesday, September 22 on charges of Principal to Filing or Maintaining False Public Records and Principal to Illegal Transmission of Monetary Funds.

These arrests bring to 49 the number of suspects charged under a joint anti-fraud initiative of the Department of Revenue and the state Attorney General’s Office.

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Baton Rouge tax preparer arrested second time on new set of fraud charges

Chandris Ferguson

Chandris Ferguson

BATON ROUGE – A Baton Rouge tax preparer on bail from a 2013 arrest is back in custody facing multiple felony counts for tax fraud, the Louisiana Department of Revenue announced Tuesday.

Chandris Ferguson (Booking Photo), of 12457 Lockhaven Avenue in Baton Rouge, is accused of filing falsified state income tax returns that resulted in her clients receiving larger tax refunds than they would have received otherwise. The amount of fraudulent refunds in this case is $63,686.

Investigators say Ferguson, owner of The Best Tax Services in Baton Rouge, filed returns claiming fabricated business losses for clients who had sustained no losses, and in many cases were not business owners. And she is accused of instructing her clients to ignore official notices from the Department of Revenue seeking to verify the business information on their tax returns.

Ferguson was arrested in 2013 on similar fraud charges related to her work at The Best Tax Services. Fabricating business losses is a technique used frequently by unscrupulous tax preparers to guarantee their clients larger refunds than they would receive otherwise.

In the current case, Ferguson faces ten counts of computer fraud, ten counts of filing or maintaining false public records, and five counts of obstruction of justice. She was arrested on Monday, August 10 and booked into the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison. It is the 46th arrest under a joint anti-fraud initiative of the Department of Revenue and the state Attorney General’s office.

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New Orleans woman arrested for tax fraud scheme involving prison inmates

 

Darylynn Carter

Darylynn Carter

BATON ROUGE – A New Orleans woman faces multiple felonies for a tax fraud scheme that involved filing phony tax returns in the names of other taxpayers, including two prison inmates.

Darylynn Carter (Booking Photo) is accused of filing fraudulent tax returns and directing the refunds to her own bank account. The phony tax filings included falsified W2 income tax withholding documents.

Investigators determined that in all five cases, the taxpayers whose names appeared on the tax returns had earned no income during the tax year in question. In two cases, they had earned no income because they were incarcerated at the time.

Carter is the 45th person arrested under a joint anti-fraud initiative of the Louisiana Department of Revenue and the state Attorney General’s office. She was booked into the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison on Tuesday on five counts of computer fraud, five counts of injuring public records, and one count of theft in the amount of $1,755.

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Prairieville woman arrested for tax fraud, theft

Heather Dixon

Heather Dixon

BATON ROUGE – A Prairieville woman faces dozens of felony charges for a criminal scheme that yielded tens of thousands of dollars in fraudulent state income tax refunds.

Heather Dixon (Booking Photo), of 14303 Bluff Lakes Drive in Prairieville, is accused of filing false Louisiana individual income tax returns on behalf of herself and her husband with inflated income and withholding data. She and her husband, Tyler Torres, received more than $80,000 in fraudulent refunds. With penalties and interest, the amount owed the state is $135,072.66.

Dixon was arrested on Thursday, June 25, 2015, and booked into the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison on 20 counts of computer fraud, 20 counts of filing or maintaining false public records, one count of criminal penalty for evasion of tax, and one count of theft in the amount of $81,591.58. She is the 44th person arrested under a joint anti-tax fraud initiative of the Louisiana Department of Revenue and the state Attorney General’s office.

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