Owner of tax prep service faces 232 years in jail, $9.5 million fine

Published: Jun. 5, 2012 at 7:12 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 11, 2012 at 9:36 AM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The owner of a tax preparation service in Baton Rouge was convicted Tuesday after a two week trial and faces up to 232 years in jail and a $9.5 million fine.

Wayne Wilkerson, 42, of Baton Rouge was convicted of endeavoring to impede the Internal Revenue Service, assisting the preparation of false tax returns, bank fraud, engaging in monetary transactions with criminally-derived funds, and money laundering.

Along with the jail sentence and fine, Wilkerson also faces forfeiture of all proceeds of the bank fraud money and laundering transactions.

Wilkerson was convicted of causing the preparation of 635 false tax returns, claiming approximately $1.4 million in false telephone excise tax refunds, to be submitted to the IRS.

Based upon the false claims for telephone excise tax refunds, Wilkerson caused the IRS to issue refunds of $119,450. Upon identifying the fraud through proactive data analysis, the IRS refused to refund the remaining false claims of $1,295,938. As a result of the scheme, Wilkerson collected tax preparation fees of approximately $485,939, which funds he attempted to remove from a business bank account on the date that a search of the business premises was conducted for evidence of the scheme.

Wilkerson also submitted many of the 635 false tax returns to HSBC Bank for the purpose of obtaining refund anticipation loans for taxpayers. The bank approved approximately 250 loans and ultimately lost approximately $500,959 as a result of the false tax returns which were supposed to serve as collateral for the refund anticipation loans.

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