Owner of DC-Area Tax Preparation Business Pleads Guilty to Fraud

Does Your Tax Attorney, CPA, Accountant, or Return Preparer Have a Conflict of Interest in Your Sales Tax or Income Tax Audit?
December 28, 2019
tax attorney riverside
Tax Attorney Riverside

A recent press release from the U.S. Department of Justice announced that Renita Jenifer, a return preparer located in District Heights, Maryland, pled guilty to aiding and assisting in preparing a false tax return.

Per the press release:

In 2016, after IRS-Criminal Investigation executed a search warrant at RAJen’s office in D.C. and revoked Jenifer’s Electronic Filing Identification Number (EFIN), Jenifer formed DS Professional Tax Service LLC (DS Pro), a new tax preparation business in Maryland. As she had done at RAJen, Jenifer prepared false tax returns for clients of DS Pro. In 2018, Jenifer moved this new business to D.C. and continued to prepare false returns for clients. To conceal her fraud, Jenifer used the name of another individual to obtain an EFIN for DS Pro, and she listed that individual’s name on tax returns she prepared, instead of her own.

In 2013 and 2014, Jenifer also filed her false tax returns for herself, omitting income from her business. In 2017 and 2018, Jenifer did not file personal tax returns at all, despite earning income from DSPro. In total, Jenifer caused a tax loss to the United States of $373,090.      

Per the Tax Division’s manual, the elements of a charge for aiding and assisting in preparing a false tax return include:

  1. Defendant aided or assisted in, procured, counseled, or advised the preparation or presentation of a document in connection with a matter arising under the internal revenue laws;
  2. The document was false as to a material matter;
  3. The act of the defendant was willful

USSG 2T4.1, the “Tax Table” provides that tax loss of $373,090, before considering other relevant factors or characteristics, falls under Offense Level 18. This is because the amount is higher than $250,000 but lower than $550,000. Without a prior criminal history (Criminal History Category I), the sentencing table in the United States Sentencing Guidelines provides for a sentence range between 27 and 33 months for Offense Level 18.

All persons who are merely charged with crimes are presumed innocent until proven guilty. Furthermore, sentences can vary depending on several factors which vary from person to person. This blog post does not implicitly or explicitly suggest there is basis to the prosecuting agency’s allegations or take any position on the strengths or weaknesses of the government’s positions.

Posted on 02/04/2020 by Benjamin Tu