Justice Department Files Lawsuit Against Miami Tax Preparer Accused of Defrauding Clients and Costing the U.S. Millions

Justice Department Files Lawsuit Against Miami Tax Preparer Accused of Defrauding Clients and Costing the U.S. Millions

The Justice Department has recently taken a decisive step by filing a complaint to prevent a Miami-area tax return preparer, Aniel Saint-Hilaire, from owning or operating a tax return preparation business and preparing tax returns for others. The civil complaint, lodged in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, accuses Saint-Hilaire of engaging in deceptive practices that intentionally underreport taxes owed by his clients and result in unwarranted refunds.

Allegations Against Aniel Saint-Hilaire: The complaint asserts that Aniel Saint-Hilaire, through numerous business entities, has been preparing federal income tax returns for Miami-area taxpayers containing fraudulent deductions and credits. The alleged purpose is to manipulate the tax liabilities of his clients, leading to unjustified refunds. Specifically, the complaint details instances where Saint-Hilaire prepared returns with false or inflated deductions, business expenses, and business losses. Additionally, he is accused of making false claims for residential energy credits, fuel tax credits, and other credits, further exacerbating the alleged fraud.

Concealment of Tax Preparation Activity: The government contends that Saint-Hilaire goes to great lengths to conceal his tax preparation activities by failing to properly identify himself on the tax returns he prepares. This deliberate obfuscation raises concerns about the transparency and integrity of the tax preparation process. The complaint further highlights…

Government’s Allegations and Impact: The complaint emphasizes that Saint-Hilaire files thousands of tax returns each year, with a staggering 99% of them claiming a refund. This pattern of repeatedly understating his customers’ tax liabilities has allegedly resulted in significant harm to the United States, causing an estimated annual loss of $16.5 million in tax revenue. To address this, the government is seeking not only an injunction against Saint-Hilaire but also an order of disgorgement to prevent him from profiting from his violation of internal revenue laws.

Deputy Assistant Attorney General’s Announcement: Deputy Assistant Attorney General David A. Hubbert of the Justice Department’s Tax Division made the announcement regarding the filing of the civil complaint. The government’s proactive stance underscores its commitment to combating fraudulent tax practices and ensuring the integrity of the tax system.

Guidance for Taxpayers: In light of such cases, taxpayers are advised to remain vigilant against unscrupulous tax preparers. The IRS provides valuable information on its website for choosing a tax return preparer and has introduced a free directory of federal tax preparers. Additionally, the IRS offers guidance on the credentials and qualifications that taxpayers should seek from their return preparers.

History of Tax Division Actions: Over the past decade, the Tax Division has taken legal action against hundreds of unscrupulous tax preparers. Information about these cases, along with an alphabetical listing of persons enjoined from preparing returns and promoting tax schemes, is available on the Justice Department’s website. If individuals suspect a violation of an injunction, they are encouraged to contact the Tax Division with details.

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