TRENTON, NJ. — On Monday, a former employee of Tax Pro’s and Tax Solutions & Associates, tax preparation businesses located in Essex and Union counties, was sentenced today to 27 months in prison for conspiring to defraud the United States by filing false income tax returns.
Angelo Thompson, 39, of Reistertown, Maryland, previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Michael A. Shipp in Trenton federal court to Count 1 of an indictment, charging him with conspiracy to defraud the IRS.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court, from at least 2009 to April 2015, Joseph Kenny Batts was co-owner, along with Damien Askew, of Tax Pro’s, a tax return preparation and payroll business in Essex County, where Thompson, Tony V. Russell, Rudolph Sanders, Batts, and Askew prepared tax returns.
In order to boost their business, Thompson and the others conspired to falsify their clients’ federal income tax returns for the purpose of generating refunds from the IRS in amounts that their clients were not entitled to receive. The fraudulent practices that Thompson, Russell, Sanders, Batts, and Askew used to inflate tax refunds included fabricating and inflating credits for education and child care; deductions, such as charitable contributions and unreimbursed employee expenses; and Schedule C business losses.
Thompson and other members of the conspiracy also permitted Batts to use their Paid Taxpayer Identification Numbers (PTIN) – the identification number that paid tax preparers are required to place on tax returns that they have prepared – when preparing tax returns to conceal Batts’ identity as the actual tax return preparer, due to, among other things, Batts’ prior federal tax fraud conviction.
After law enforcement executed a search warrant at Tax Pro’s in or about April 2015, Batts discontinued Tax Pro’s and opened Tax Solutions and Associates in Union, where Thompson, Russell, and Batts continued preparing false federal income tax returns. By fraudulently inflating the amounts of the tax refunds, Thompson and his co-conspirators caused a total tax loss to the IRS in excess of $1.6 million.
Askew, Sanders, and Russell, have pleaded guilty to their roles in the scheme. Batts was convicted at trial in September 2019 of one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States and five counts of aiding and assisting in the preparation of false federal income tax returns. Russell has been sentenced to four years in prison; and Askew, Sanders and Batts are awaiting sentencing.
In addition to the prison term, Judge Shipp sentenced Thompson to three years of supervised release and ordered him to pay restitution of $103,320.