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$900,000 Tax Scam Gets NJ Tax Preparer Four Years In Fed Pen

U.S. Attorney for New Jersey Craig Carpenito credited special agents of IRS-Criminal Investigation with the investigation leading to the sentencing.
U.S. Attorney for New Jersey Craig Carpenito credited special agents of IRS-Criminal Investigation with the investigation leading to the sentencing. Photo Credit: IRS

A federal judge sentenced a former tax preparer who worked in Essex and Union counties to a plea-bargained four years in prison for his role in a $900,000 income tax scam, authorities said.

Because there’s no parole in the federal prison system, Tony V. Russell, 49, of Stone Mountain, GA must serve out the entire term for his guilty plea to conspiring to defraud the IRS.

Russell was the first of five men sentenced for preparing bogus tax returns at Tax Pro’s and Tax Solutions & Associates, federal prosecutors said.

A federal judge in Trenton last September convicted one of two co-owners, Joseph Kenny Batts, 49, of Elkridge, MD, of conspiring to defraud the United States and aiding and assisting in the preparation of false federal income tax returns following a five-day bench trial.

Batts already had a federal tax fraud conviction on his record at the time.

Three accomplices -- 39-year-old co-owner Damien Askew of Union and employees Rudolph Sanders, 41, of Newark, and Angelo K. Thompson, 38, of Reistertown, MD – all took plea deals and are awaiting sentencing.

U.S. District Judge Michael A. Shipp, who has presided over all of the proceedings in the case, sentencing Russell on Wednesday via teleconference.

In addition to the prison term, Shipp sentenced Russell to three years of supervised release and ordered him to pay $241,185 in restitution.

“To boost their business, the defendants conspired to falsify their clients’ federal income tax returns to generate refunds from the IRS in amounts that their clients were not entitled to receive,” U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito said.

All five “inflated tax refunds by fabricating and inflating credits for education and childcare, deductions such as charitable contributions and unreimbursed employee expenses and business losses,” he said.

Russell and his accomplices also allowed Batts to use their Preparer Tax Identification Numbers (PTIN) to conceal his identity as the actual tax return preparer because of his criminal records.

After federal agents raided Tax Pro’s in April 2015, Batts closed the business and opened Tax Solutions and Associates in Union, where Russell, Thompson, and Batts continued preparing false federal income tax returns, Carpenito said.

All told, they cheated the IRS out of more than $900,000, the U.S. attorney said.

Carpenito special agents of IRS-Criminal Investigation with the investigation leading to the sentencing, secured by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Cari Fais and Jihee Suh of the Special Prosecutions Division.A federal judge sentenced a former tax preparer who worked in Essex and Union counties to plea-bargained four years in prison for his role in a $900,000 income tax scam, authorities said.

Because there’s no parole in the federal prison system, Tony V. Russell, 49, of Stone Mountain, GA must serve out the entire term for his guilty plea to conspiring to defraud the IRS.

Russell was the first of five men sentenced for preparing bogus tax returns at Tax Pro’s and Tax Solutions & Associates, federal prosecutors said.

A federal judge in Trenton last September convicted one of two co-owners, Joseph Kenny Batts, 49, of Elkridge, MD, of conspiring to defraud the United States and aiding and assisting in the preparation of false federal income tax returns following a five-day bench trial.

Batts already had a federal tax fraud conviction on his record at the time.

Three accomplices -- 39-year-old co-owner Damien Askew of Union and employees Rudolph Sanders, 41, of Newark, and Angelo K. Thompson, 38, of Reistertown, MD – all took plea deals and are awaiting sentencing.

U.S. District Judge Michael A. Shipp, who has presided over all of the proceedings in the case, sentencing Russell on Wednesday via teleconference.

In addition to the prison term, Shipp sentenced Russell to three years of supervised release and ordered him to pay $241,185 in restitution.

“To boost their business, the defendants conspired to falsify their clients’ federal income tax returns to generate refunds from the IRS in amounts that their clients were not entitled to receive,” U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito said.

All five “inflated tax refunds by fabricating and inflating credits for education and childcare, deductions such as charitable contributions and unreimbursed employee expenses and business losses,” he said.

Russell and his accomplices also allowed Batts to use their Preparer Tax Identification Numbers (PTIN) to conceal his identity as the actual tax return preparer because of his criminal records.

After federal agents raided Tax Pro’s in April 2015, Batts closed the business and opened Tax Solutions and Associates in Union, where Russell, Thompson, and Batts continued preparing false federal income tax returns, Carpenito said.

All told, they cheated the IRS out of more than $900,000, the U.S. attorney said.

Carpenito credited special agents of IRS-Criminal Investigation with the investigation leading to the sentencing, secured by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Cari Fais and Jihee Suh of the Special Prosecutions Division.

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