A Florida man pleaded guilty today to conspiring to defraud the United States, filing a false tax return and to aiding and assisting the preparation of a false tax return.
According to court documents and statements made in court, Rafael Ramos, of Orlando, recruited clients and prepared tax returns on their behalf that falsely claimed banks and other financial institutions had withheld large amounts of taxes from the clients’ income, thereby entitling them to refunds from the IRS. To further the scheme, Ramos and his co-conspirators filed false documents with the IRS, purporting to have been issued by the banks, to support the false withholding information reported on the returns.
When the IRS initiated proceedings to collect the fraudulently-issued refunds, Ramos held meetings with his clients and attempted to obstruct the IRS’s efforts by providing them with frivolous correspondence to send to the IRS, instructing clients to falsely inform the IRS that they self-prepared their returns and telling clients to move funds out of their bank accounts to avoid IRS levies. In total, Ramos’s scheme caused a tax loss to the IRS of over $1.15 million.
Ramos is scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 30 and faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison for conspiracy and three years in prison for each false return count. He also faces a period of supervised release, restitution and monetary penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stuart M. Goldberg of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and U.S. Attorney Roger B. Handberg for the Middle District of Florida made the announcement.
IRS-Criminal Investigation is investigating the case.