Among those targeted by federal prosecutors was an Idaho return preparer who has already pleaded guilty to filing false returns without his clients' knowledge. The feds said the Idaho tax preparer falsified medical and education expenses to inflate refunds, and then diverted part of the refund into a bank account controlled by the tax preparer.
According to court records, 42-year-old Jonathan Peirsol of Pocatello, pleaded guilty earlier this year to aiding and assisting in the preparation of a false tax return. According to prosecutors, Peirsol, who operated as JJ Accounting Inc. in Blackfoot, will face up to three years in federal prison at his sentencing May 11.
“Return preparer fraud is a significant drain on the U.S. Treasury, and the Justice Department is committed to working with the Internal Revenue Service to bring enforcement actions against unscrupulous return preparers who prepare fraudulent tax returns,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General David A. Hubbert. “The Tax Division will use all available enforcement tools to hold dishonest return preparers accountable and protect the U.S. Treasury from further damage.”
Meanwhile, the IRS has some tips on its website for choosing a return preparer and has launched a free directory of federal return preparers.