A former Mississippi tax preparer, John Wells Jr., has pleaded guilty to conspiring to defraud the United States by preparing false tax returns. Wells worked at Sunbelt Tax Services, a return preparation business based in Jackson, Mississippi, from 2015 through 2017. He conspired with others at Sunbelt Tax Services to claim fraudulently inflated tax refunds for clients by reporting false education credits, itemized deductions, and business profits or losses.
Small business owners should be cautious when selecting tax preparers and be aware of potential fraudulent activities that could impact their businesses. Choosing a reputable and trustworthy tax preparer is essential for ensuring accurate tax filings and avoiding potential legal consequences.
Wells is scheduled to be sentenced on September 20, 2023, and faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison. 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 Goldberg of the Justice Department’s Tax Division announced the development. Trial Attorneys Casey Smith, Patrick Elwell, and Mary Frances Richardson of the Justice Department’s Tax Division, along with Assistant U.S. Attorney Bert Carraway of the Southern District of Mississippi, are prosecuting the case.
This case serves as a reminder to small business owners to remain vigilant and informed about their tax obligations and the professionals they hire to handle their financial affairs. Proper due diligence can protect businesses from potential fraud and resulting legal issues.