On August 19, 29-year-old Gerald L. Hawk, Jr. was sentenced to serve 18 months in federal prison followed by two years of supervised release for his role in preparing fraudulent tax returns. Mr. Hawk was also ordered to pay restitution of the more than $72,000 he received in fraudulent refunds, according to a press release issued by the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation Detroit Field Office on August 27.
Hawk, a Detroit tax preparer, pleaded guilty to preparing false income tax returns in 2009 and claiming the 2008 FTHBC (First Time Homebuyer Credit) in these returns. The FTHBC allowed individuals to receive a tax refund of $8,000 for purchasing a home during 2008. Essentially, Hawk brought in new clients to his tax preparation business by promising an $8,000 tax refund for purchasing a home. Overall, approximately 21 fraudulent tax returns claiming more than $147,000 in refunds using the FTHBC credit were prepared either by Hawk, or with his assistance. Hawk knew that the clients he obtained through his scheme did not purchase a home in 2008, and did not intend to purchase a home with the $8,000 refund.
Jarod Koopman, Acting Special Agent in Charge, said in the press release that the majority of tax preparers provide excellent service to clients, however there are those who attempt to defraud the government by filing false or fraudulent returns. Essentially, when fraudulent refunds are issued by the IRS, it costs American taxpayers.
Tax fraud is a serious criminal offense, whether an individual underreports income, takes credits or exemptions he or she is not entitled to take, or purposely does not file in order to attempt to cover up money laundering schemes. The Internal Revenue Service is an entity you want to avoid having issues with when at all possible. If charged with tax fraud, the criminal penalties are severe for those found guilty.
If you are under investigation by the IRS or have been charged with any white collar crime such as embezzling or fraud, contact a dedicated and aggressive Michigan criminal defense attorney right away.