Crime

Federal Court Shuts Down Pasadena-Based Tax Preparer

Return preparer fraud is one of the IRS’s Dirty Dozen Tax Scams for 2018. – Courtesy photo / Ken Teegardin (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Her fraudulent returns cost the IRS millions of dollars

A federal court has issued an order that permanently bars a tax return preparer who operated offices in Pasadena – as well as other cities in California, Colorado and Kansas – from preparing federal income tax returns, U.S. Attorney Nick Hanna announced last week.

Maria Del Consuelo Vazquez is the subject of a permanent injunction filed Sept. 17 by U.S. District Judge Fernando M. Olguin. In that order, Judge Olguin also prohibited Vazquez from owning a tax return preparation business.

Vasquez operated a tax preparation business in Pasadena; Corona; Santa Ana; Brighton, Colorado; and Hutchinson, Kansas under a Nevada corporation she called MCV Business Network, Inc. In recent years, Vazquez filed thousands of tax returns for clients under her IRS-issued Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN).

According to a lawsuit filed by federal prosecutors on July 13 and testimony presented to the court, Vazquez substantially inflated or completely fabricated charitable contributions and unreimbursed employee business expenses to illegally generate federal income tax refunds for her clients or to substantially understate clients’ tax liabilities.

“Vazquez prepared and filed a total of 9,216 tax returns from Jan. 1, 2015 to May 21, 2018 with her PTIN,” Judge Olguin wrote. “Based on the average deficiency of $2,830.29 from her audited returns, that suggests Vazquez’s fraudulent returns have resulted in harm of over $26 million to the United States from Jan. 1, 2015 to present.”

This case against Vazquez was handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Melissa Briggs of the Tax Division.

On its website, the IRS has ten tips for choosing a tax preparer. Each year, the IRS releases the top 12 scams, known as the Dirty Dozen. Return preparer fraud is one of the IRS’s Dirty Dozen Tax Scams for 2018, and taxpayers seeking a return preparer should remain vigilant. The IRS has published information on choosing a return preparer and has launched a free directory of federal tax preparers.

Over the past decade, the Justice Department has obtained injunctions against hundreds of unscrupulous tax preparers and has published an alphabetical listing of persons enjoined from preparing returns and promoting tax schemes. If you believe that one of the enjoined persons or businesses may be violating an injunction, you should contact the Tax Division of the Justice Department.

September 24, 2018

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