Well, we’ve started off 2020 with the attitude of “New Year, New Us” but for our friends in the Justice Department and the IRS, nothing has really changed.  We’re still seeing PLENTY of dummies trying to beat the system… 

From the “they just never learn” file, let’s go to Maryland to learn about Maria Espinal.  The owner and operator of a tax preparation service displayed a sign on the wall of her office, written in Spanish, stating that if the client did not have their correct documents, she had a list of stolen identities and personal information she could use to help them file their tax return!    Apparently, Espinal also filed frauadulent returns to supplement her own income as well.  The now former tax preparer will be sentenced for her crimes in April.    

In New Jersey, Kenneth Crawford Jr. was recently found guilty of conspiring to defraud the United States, filing false claims, and obstructing the internal revenue laws.  Crawford used an elaborate series of schemes to misrepresent homeowners who were behind on their mortgages and then pocketed a portion of the monies paid back to the mortgage holders by the IRS.  Crawford was proven to have also provided false documents for the homeowners to file as well as advice and training on how to avoid the IRS’s recovery efforts.  In the end the IRS paid out over $1.3 million to these fraudulent claims and, when Crawford is sentenced in March, it is expected he will not only serve a lengthy prison sentence, he will also face restitution of these fees. 

Lastly, the operating manager of two New Jersey golf courses, Kevin M. Kennedy, was indicted on counts of theft concerning a program receiving federal funds, wire fraud, money laundering-related crimes, and filing false tax returns.  It seems that Kennedy redirected greens fees and cart rental fees into his own accounts for years and used those funds to pay for two new homes.  His next tee time could be over 20 years from now. 

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