A federal magistrate is considering whether a woman accused of filing more than $460,000 in fraudulent tax deductions should be allowed to continue filing tax returns while free on bail.
A grand jury indicted Linda Lopez, who operated Tax Premier Solutions, with nine counts of fraud and misrepresentation on Feb. 15 and for the past two weeks her attorneys have argued with federal prosecutors over whether she should be able to continue. file returns during tax season.
Lopez is accused of filing a total of $460,359 in fraudulent deductions between 2016 and 2017, including what the government says are hard-to-get home energy credits.
She pleaded not guilty to the charges.
The indictment says Lopez owned and operated Premier Tax Solutions, which had an electronic filer ID number, and Lopez had a preparer tax ID number, which is how the company and Lopez found out. submitted tax returns to the Internal Revenue Service, or IRS.
Prosecutors allege Lopez trained, instructed and directed his employees to use those numbers to file false and fraudulent tax returns.
“Linda Lopez’s purpose in preparing false and fraudulent tax returns and causing her employees to prepare false and fraudulent tax returns was to generate business for Premier Tax Solutions by causing the IRS to issue inflated refunds to taxpayers,” the indictment reads.
Lopez is free on $50,000 bond and one of the conditions of that bond is that she keep her job. However, there is also a bond recommendation that states Lopez must seek employment that is unrelated to preparing or filing tax returns for others.
Prosecutors filed three briefs asking U.S. Magistrate Judge J. Scott Hacker to bar him from tax work. Lopez’s defense team argued that she should be able to continue work to fulfill the condition of her recognizance that she keep her job.
“Furthermore, the Government asks the Court to clarify that the condition not only precludes the Defendant from preparing and filing tax returns itself, but also precludes the Defendant from engaging in any tax preparation work. income, including using his business, Premier Tax Solutions, and employees, to prepare and file tax returns with the IRS,” one of the memoirs said.
The document, which was filed March 2, expands on the allegations against Lopez, particularly regarding residential energy credits.
This is a credit a filer can get if they purchase alternative energy products for their home, such as solar panels.
During his detention hearing, IRS Special Agent Carlos Quevedo said about 1% of tax filers nationwide and in Texas claim this credit, while 56% to 58% of Tax returns filed by Premier Tax Solutions from 2017 to 2018 claimed this credit, according to the writ.
“The alarming percentage of returns claiming the Home Energy Credit supports the employee narrative that Defendant Lopez trains its employees to falsely claim the tax credit to fraudulently inflate taxpayer refunds,” the brief states. “It also illustrates the enormous fiscal harm caused to the community by the (defendant’s) fraud.
“(Special Agent) Quevedo testified that during the 2017-2018 tax years, the total dollar amount of home energy credits claimed on tax returns prepared by Premier Tax Solutions was approximately $7.5 millions of dollars.”
Another of the government’s briefs also alleges that the IRS took steps to administratively revoke the Tax Premier Solutions filer’s electronic identification number.
“The government says this administrative revocation sparked much of the dispute by preventing Ms. Lopez’s business from filing tax returns (the same relief it sought in this Court), and it says the action of the IRS against the company of Ms. Lopez supports this decision of the Court. Ms. Lopez personally to work,” Lopez’s attorneys said in a response to the government.
His lawyers say that is misleading and that Lopez can still prepare and file tax returns, but only under the supervision of someone else who has an electronic filer identification number.
“This oversight reduces any alleged community risk that the government claims Ms. Lopez poses,” the response reads. “To deny Ms. Lopez the right to work in her profession under these new circumstances is even more unfair than before the dismissal.
“And denying him that right to work still prevents him from keeping his job, which is a condition of bail that the Court has already imposed on him.”
Lopez’s attorneys also say she should be allowed to file supervised tax returns because she still holds a preparer tax ID.
“As such, the following government statements are – on their face – materially false and misleading – and are intended to lead the Court to believe that the revocation (declarant’s electronic identification number) had an impact on the ability of Ms. Lopez to continue working as a tax specialist. preparer,” the response said.
Federal prosecutors, in a response to the response, described her as ‘full of sound and fury’ but with no ‘legitimate basis’ for not imposing the condition barring her from filing tax returns while on bail. .
Additionally, prosecutors say Lopez has other work experience that would allow him to satisfy the bail condition requiring him to keep his job.
“To the contrary, the defendant has extensive education and training beyond the preparation of tax returns,” the government said.
For example, prosecutors say Lopez has extensive medical billing experience as a clerk at two different medical practices over a combined seven years.
Early Friday afternoon, the judge had not yet rendered a decision.