St. Paul Tax Preparer Pleads guilty to Tax Fraud

Published On: 18th January 2015

From the internet

A Ramsey County employee has pleaded guilty to eight counts of filing fraudulent Minnesota property tax claims in exchange for refunds while running a tax preparation business in St. Paul.

The financial worker with the Ramsey County human services department ran a tax preparation business as well and the FBI began investigating the business in May 2012 because of reports that the man had filed returns on behalf of people without them knowing. This meant that signatures were forged and refunds were wired directly into his personal bank account, according to the criminal complaint.

It was found in the investigation that the man had submitted at least 28 claims in the names of others in order to receive Minnesota property tax refunds between July 2008 and September 2011. Four of the refunds were paid back to the state because the taxpayers owed funds. He funneled the money into his own bank account. The complaint further stated that there were several tax refund claims filed without the knowledge or signature of some taxpayers and some of those filings included landlord signatures that were forged on Certificates of Rent Paid.

It was found that more than $20,000 of his clients’ refunds were fed into his own bank account, according to the Ramsay County attorneys’ office news release.

The man then entered an Alford plea to eight of the 16 tax fraud charges against him. In the plea, the man did not admit that he did anything wrong, but he agreed that the prosecutors had enough evidence to convict him.

The assistant County Attorney said that the plea agreement means that the man will be ordered to pay restitution to Minnesota or to his clients, he will have to perform 120 hours of community service as a part of his sentencing that will take place on January 29.

When the investigation was conducted, it was not found that the man had committed any wrongdoing while he was working with Ramsey County. In fact, his employment record with the county was completely clean and he had been a model employee.

While his employment has not been terminated, the man has been placed on paid administrative leave. Financial records show that he earned $58,812 from the county in 2013.

It was said by the man’s attorney that the matter was a gross misunderstanding on the part of the government. It was his belief that the government would not be able to prove that the man did anything wrong. He also said that many of the man’s clients were poor and did not have checking accounts, so the man had their refunds deposited into his checking account so that he could give them the money. The attorney said he was confident that a paper trail of payment could be presented, showing that he didn’t defraud anyone. However, the man did finally agree that the prosecution had a great deal of evidence against him, so he entered his plea.