IRS worker charged in an alleged tax refund scam

Philadelphia Daily News on April 11, 2012 released the following:

“By Michael Hinkelman

An Internal Revenue Service employee and her boyfriend were arrested this morning and charged in a tax refund scam that defrauded Uncle Sam.

In an indictment unsealed today, federal prosecutors charged IRS employee Patricia Fountain, 34, with conspiring to file false claims, filing 15 false tax returns, extortion and related offenses.

Codefendant Larry Ishmael, 39, was charged with conspiracy to file false claims and aiding in the filing of a false tax return.

Authorities said Fountain and Ishmael, of North Philadelphia, shared a residence, money and assets, including a 2007 Mercedes Benz R350.

Fountain’s job at the IRS was to assist taxpayers with Telephone Excise Tax Refunds or credits (TETRs), the indictment said.

The TETR was a one-time payment individuals, businesses, nonprofits and government entities could claim – typically $30 to $60 – for telephone excise taxes paid from Feb. 28, 2003 to Aug. 1, 2006. (The TETR credit could only be claimed on 2006 federal tax returns.)

Federal prosecutors said that between November 2006 and May 2009, Fountain solicited taxpayers to file false returns claiming the TETR.

The indictment said Fountain directed a person identified only as N.W. and Ishmael to interact with taxpayers on her behalf.

The charging document alleges 21 separate instances in which Fountain allegedly filed false tax returns claiming the TETR, including her own false tax return and Ishmael’s false tax return for the year 2006.

Authorities said Fountain charged taxpayers $400 to file the return and warned that she would “red flag” those who did not pay her fee.

The indictment said Fountain filed amended returns for certain taxpayers whom she believed had not paid the fee, thus reversing refunds that had been previously issued by the IRS.

Fountain also allegedly structured a $11,299 down payment on the financed 2007 Mercedes by paying part in cash and charging the rest to a Mastercard to avoid the reporting requirement by financial institutions for cash transactions in excess of $10,000. (Prosecutors are seeking forfeiture of the luxury automobile.)

Fountain and Ishmael were to appear before a federal magistrate this afternoon and will likely be released on bail, sources said.”

US v Fountain et al – Federal Criminal Indictment

18 U.S.C. § 286

18 U.S.C. § 287

18 U.S.C. § 1951

26 U.S.C. § 7206

31 U.S.C. § 5324


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