In federal court Sept. 3, a Minnesota man was sentenced for being part of a conspiracy to file false tax returns to generate inflated refunds.
United States District Judge Joan N. Ericksen sentenced Solomon Frank-Sawari to 27 months in federal prison on one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States. Frank-Sawari was indicted on January 15, 2013, and pleaded guilty on March 26, 2013.
In his plea agreement, Frank-Sawari admitted to obstructing the Internal Revenue Service and the state of Minnesota in their lawful collection of income taxes by falsifying hundreds of tax returns. The tax loss due to the conspiracy was estimated at between $80,000 and $200,000.
From 2007 through 2009, Frank-Sawari conspired with his two co-conspirators and others to prepare fraudulent tax returns for customers of his tax preparation services, Merit Tax Service of Robbinsdale and Capitol Income Tax of Minneapolis. Frank-Sawari admitted that the returns included false income and fraudulent dependent information, among other things. The returns generated inflated refunds for his customers and fraudulent fees and other payments for himself and others. He also admitted instructing customers to sign false income declarations and other paperwork to substantiate the false tax refund claims.
According to the IRS, approximately 60 percent of taxpayers use tax professionals to prepare and file their tax returns, with those paid preparers now collectively responsible for more than 80 million individual tax returns annually.
“Tax return preparer fraud” is one of the IRS’s “Dirty Dozen Tax Scams.” For more information about the fight against tax fraud or how to choose a reliable tax return preparer, visit http://www.irs.gov/uac/Tips-for-Choosing-a-Tax-Return-Preparer.
This case was investigated by the IRS-Criminal Investigations with assistance from the Minnesota Department of Revenue. It was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney William J. Otteson.
(Information provided by a United States Department of Justice United States Attorney’s Office District of Minnesota press release.)