January 25, 2022

News

News Network

Virginia Tax Preparer Sentenced to More Than Two Years in Prison for Preparing False Returns

13 min read
<div>A Newport News, Virginia, tax return preparer was sentenced to 27 months in prison for preparing false tax returns, announced Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard E. Zuckerman of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and U.S. Attorney G. Zachary Terwilliger for the Eastern District of Virginia.</div>

A Newport News, Virginia, tax return preparer was sentenced to 27 months in prison for preparing false tax returns, announced Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard E. Zuckerman of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and U.S. Attorney G. Zachary Terwilliger for the Eastern District of Virginia.

According to court documents and statements made in court, Angela Harper owned At Ease Tax Services, a tax preparation business that she operated in her home and hotel rooms in the Newport News area. Between 2014 and 2018, Harper prepared tax returns that claimed fraudulent credits and deductions in an effort to inflate her clients’ refunds. Harper did not sign the returns in order to make it appear that the returns were self-prepared by her clients. She also did not review the completed returns with her clients, nor did she provide copies of the returns even when the clients specifically requested them. In total, Harper filed over 400 false tax returns and caused a tax loss of over $700,000 to the IRS. 

Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Zuckerman and U.S. Attorney Terwilliger commended special agents of IRS Criminal Investigation, who conducted the investigation, and Trial Attorney Francine Davis and Assistant Chief Michael Boteler of the Tax Division, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian Samuels of the Eastern District of Virginia, who prosecuted the case.

Additional information about the Tax Division and its enforcement efforts may be found on the division’s website.

More from: January 4, 2021

News Network

  • Texas Woman Indicted for Transporting Minor for Female Genital Mutilation
    In Crime News
    A Texas woman has been indicted for transporting a minor from the United States to a foreign country for the purpose of female genital mutilation (FGM).
    [Read More…]
  • Real Estate Appraisals: Most Residential Mortgages Received Appraisals, but Waiver Procedures Need to Be Better Defined
    In U.S GAO News
    What GAO Found Although Title XI permits federal regulators to exempt certain mortgages from an appraisal requirement, such exemptions likely have not increased overall risks for regulated lenders (e.g., banks and credit unions) and homebuyers. This is because GAO estimates the lenders obtained appraisals for around 85 percent of the mortgages eligible for an exemption in 2018–2019 (see figure). An appraisal of a home's market value can help lenders mitigate the risk of loss and homebuyers mitigate the risk of overpaying. Regulated lenders obtained appraisals even when not required by Title XI for various reasons. For example, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac generally require appraisals for mortgages they purchase from lenders, so lenders obtained appraisals in order to sell mortgages to them. In addition, regulated lenders typically obtained appraisals for mortgages of $250,000 or less, although they were permitted to use an evaluation (an estimate of a home's market value not conducted by a state-approved appraiser) in place of an appraisal. Most Residential Mortgages Originated in 2018–2019 That Qualified for a Title XI Appraisal Exemption Still Had an Appraisal The Appraisal Subcommittee (ASC) followed its process in granting a waiver to North Dakota in 2019 but faced challenges in making the determination. ASC may temporarily waive the requirement that only state-approved appraisers perform Title XI appraisals if it determines a scarcity of appraisers led to a significant delay in obtaining appraisals. However, ASC's regulations and guidance for processing temporary waiver requests do not define scarcity and significant delay or establish standards to determine when these conditions exist. For North Dakota's request, the absence of such standards led different stakeholders to use different definitions and data to prove or disprove the conditions existed—creating challenges for ASC in making its determination. Defining the key terms in measurable ways and establishing standards to determine if such conditions exist would better ensure that ASC has a consistent and objective process for reviewing and granting future waiver requests. Why GAO Did This Study Congress enacted Title XI in the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act of 1989 to require regulated lenders to obtain appraisals for residential mortgages from state-approved appraisers, unless eligible for one of its exemptions. Title XI also created ASC to monitor Title XI-related activities and authorized it to grant waivers related to appraiser credentialing requirements. In late 2019 and early 2020, federal regulators raised the threshold under which lenders can (but do not have to) obtain an evaluation instead of an appraisal for mortgages to $400,000 or less. Also, in 2018, North Dakota requested a temporary waiver, citing delays in appraisals because of a scarcity of appraisers. GAO was asked to review Title XI exemptions. This report examines the extent to which (1) Title XI appraisal exemptions increased risks for federally regulated lenders and homebuyers, and (2) ASC followed its waiver review process or faced challenges when it granted North Dakota a temporary waiver. GAO reviewed and analyzed Title XI and related regulations, most recently available mortgage data, research on appraisals, and ASC records, and interviewed federal agencies and industry stakeholders.
    [Read More…]
  • Emergency Watershed Protection: Assistance Program Helps Meet Post-Disaster Needs and Could Be Improved with Additional Guidance
    In U.S GAO News
    What GAO Found The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) provides assistance to project sponsors (e.g., state, local, or tribal governments) through the Emergency Watershed Protection (EWP) program using a process that includes assessing damage, overseeing implementation of projects, and reimbursing project costs. To be eligible for the EWP program, a project must address damage that poses a threat to life or property (see figure), and the benefits of the project must generally outweigh the costs. NRCS officials said that if a site meets these conditions, the agency generally approves it. If NRCS has insufficient EWP funds, an approved project may be waitlisted until the agency receives additional funds from Congress. Flood Damage to Homes in Colorado, 2013 Sponsors and other stakeholders generally described the EWP program as an important program that helps sponsors respond to disasters, but they also identified challenges, including the clarity of program guidance for sponsors. For example, many stakeholders identified areas where guidance was limited or unclear, including guidance related to the steps and forms needed for sponsors to request assistance. Some said it would be helpful to have such guidance, so potential sponsors can quickly learn key policies and procedures, such as time frames for applying for assistance and project time limits. Some NRCS state offices have developed guides to help sponsors understand program requirements, but NRCS does not have a national sponsor guide for the EWP program. As of October 2021, NRCS officials said that they were in the process of developing a national sponsor guide, which they anticipated issuing in 2022. However, from GAO's review of NRCS documents and discussions with NRCS officials, it is not clear whether the guide will address the challenges identified by stakeholders GAO interviewed. As NRCS continues developing its national sponsor guide, it should ensure that the guide clarifies these areas to help NRCS and sponsors better achieve their objectives of protecting life and property after a natural disaster. Why GAO Did This Study Hurricanes, floods, wildfires, and other natural disasters can damage watersheds, creating threats to life and property. According to the U.S. Global Change Research Program, extreme weather events in the United States are becoming more frequent and intense, in part due to climate change, which GAO has reported poses a significant fiscal risk to the federal government. USDA's EWP program provides technical and financial assistance to help project sponsors relieve imminent threats to life and property created by natural disasters. Congress appropriated over $1.3 billion to the EWP program from fiscal years 2015 through 2020. GAO was asked to review the EWP program. This report (1) describes the process through which USDA provides assistance under the EWP program and (2) examines stakeholder perspectives on the EWP program, including any challenges and opportunities for improvement. GAO reviewed statutes, regulations, program guidance, and other documents. GAO also interviewed USDA officials and sponsors and other stakeholders in six states selected, among other reasons, because they received the most EWP funds from fiscal years 2015 through 2019.
    [Read More…]
  • Briefing with Special Envoy for the Northern Triangle Ricardo Zuniga on Ongoing Diplomatic Efforts to Address the Root Causes of Irregular Migration from Central America
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Ricardo Zuniga, Special [Read More…]
  • Secretary Blinken’s Call with Norwegian Foreign Minister Søreide
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Office of the [Read More…]
  • Secretary Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne, and Australian Defence Minister Peter Dutton At a Joint Press Availability
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Antony J. Blinken, [Read More…]
  • McAllen man guilty of selling child pornography
    In Justice News
    A 34-year-old south [Read More…]
  • Laredoan sentenced for importing meth inside tacos
    In Justice News
    A 31-year-old resident [Read More…]
  • F-35 Sustainment: Enhanced Attention to and Oversight of F-35 Affordability Are Needed
    In U.S GAO News
    What GAO Found F-35 mission capable rates—a measure of the readiness of an aircraft fleet—have recently improved, but still fall short of warfighter requirements, as discussed in our draft report. Specifically, from fiscal year 2019 to fiscal year 2020, the U.S. F-35 fleet's average annual (1) mission capable rate—the percentage of time during which the aircraft can fly and perform one of its tasked missions—improved from 59 to 69 percent; and (2) full mission capable rate—the percentage of time during which the aircraft can perform all of its tasked missions—improved from 32 to 39 percent. Both metrics fall below the services' objectives. For example, in fiscal year 2020 the Air Force F-35A full mission capable rate was 54 percent, versus a 72 percent objective. Since 2012, F-35 estimated sustainment costs over its 66-year life cycle have increased steadily, from $1.11 trillion to $1.27 trillion, despite efforts to reduce costs. The services face a substantial and growing gap between estimated sustainment costs and affordability constraints—i.e., costs per tail (aircraft) per year that the services project they can afford—totaling about $6 billion in 2036 alone (see fig.). The services will collectively be confronted with tens of billions of dollars in sustainment costs that they project as unaffordable during the program. Gap between F-35 Affordability Constraints and Estimated Sustainment Costs in 2036 Note: Costs are in constant year 2012 dollars as that was the year when the F-35 program was most recently re-baselined. aSteady state years for the F-35 program are defined in each respective service's affordability analysis as: US Air Force/F-35A – 2036-2041; US Marine Corps/F-35B – 2033-2037; US Navy/F-35C – 2036-2043. Steady state refers to the program's peak operating point. The Air Force needs to reduce estimated costs per tail per year by $3.7 million (or 47 percent) by 2036 or it will incur $4.4 billion in costs beyond what it currently projects it could afford in that year alone. Cost reductions become increasingly difficult as the program grows and matures. However, GAO found there is no agreed upon approach to achieve the constraints. Without an assessment of cost-reduction efforts and program requirements (such as number of planned aircraft), along with a plan, the Department of Defense (DOD) may continue to invest resources in a program it ultimately cannot afford. Congress requiring DOD to report on its progress in achieving affordability constraints and making F-35 procurements contingent on DOD's demonstrated progress would enhance DOD's accountability for taking the necessary and appropriate actions to afford sustaining the F-35 fleet. Why GAO Did This Study The F-35 aircraft with its advanced capabilities represents a growing portion of DOD's tactical aviation fleet—with the Air Force, Marine Corps, and Navy currently flying about 400 of the aircraft. It is also DOD's most ambitious and costly weapon system in history, with estimated life-of-program costs exceeding $1.7 trillion. DOD plans to procure nearly 2,500 F-35s at an estimated total acquisition cost of just under $400 billion. The remaining $1.3 trillion in life cycle costs is associated with operating and sustaining the aircraft. This statement, among other things, assesses the extent to which (1) the F-35 has met warfighter-required mission capable rates; and (2) DOD has reduced the F-35's estimated life cycle sustainment costs and made progress in meeting its affordability constraints. This statement is largely based on GAO's draft report, which was provided to DOD in March for review and comment. For that report and this statement, GAO reviewed program documentation, analyzed performance and cost data, collected data from F-35 locations, and interviewed officials.
    [Read More…]
  • Houston Attorney Sentenced to Prison for Offshore Tax Evasion Scheme
    In Crime News
    A Houston, Texas attorney was sentenced to 24 months in prison today for conspiring to defraud the United States and tax evasion, announced Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard E. Zuckerman of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick for the Southern District of Texas.
    [Read More…]
  • Two Florida Tax Preparers Plead Guilty to Conspiracy to Defraud the United States
    In Crime News
    Two Florida tax preparers pleaded guilty to conspiring to defraud the United States and preparing false tax returns.
    [Read More…]
  • Couple Who Falsely Claimed to be Farmers Sentenced in $1.1 Million COVID-Relief Fraud
    In Crime News
    More from: June 2, 2021 [Read More…]
  • National Consumer Bankruptcy Law Firm Agrees to Pay More than $300,000 in Relief to Consumers and to a Six-Year Practice Ban in Settlement with U.S. Trustee Program
    In Crime News
    The Department of Justice’s U.S. Trustee Program (USTP) has entered into a settlement with national consumer bankruptcy law firm Deighan Law LLC, previously known as Law Solutions Chicago and doing business as UpRight Law.
    [Read More…]
  • ASEAN Regional Forum Senior Officials’ Meeting
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Office of the [Read More…]
  • Statement on Misinformation on Social Media Regarding the Office of the Pardon Attorney
    In Crime News
    “Please be advised that the information circulating on social media claiming to be from Acting Pardon Attorney Rosalind Sargent-Burns is inauthentic and should not be taken seriously.  "The Justice Department’s Office of the Pardon Attorney does not have a social media presence and is not involved in any efforts to pardon individuals or groups involved with the heinous acts that took place this week in and around the U.S. Capitol."
    [Read More…]
  • Joint Statement on the United States-Montenegro Economic Dialogue
    In Human Health, Resources and Services
    Office of the [Read More…]
  • Yemen Travel Advisory
    In Travel
    Do not travel to Yemen [Read More…]
  • Member of White Supremacist Prison Gang Guilty of Violent Crime in Aid of Racketeering
    In Crime News
    A Texas man pleaded guilty today to violent gang-related activities in the Eastern District of Texas.
    [Read More…]
  • 8 Martian Postcards to Celebrate Curiosity’s Landing Anniversary
    In Space
    The NASA rover touched [Read More…]
  • Three charged in conspiracy to purchase $500,000 in weapons for cartel
    In Justice News
    Three men are now facing [Read More…]

Crime

Network News © 2005 Area.Control.Network™ All rights reserved.