Owner of Tax Preparation Business Convicted of Wire Fraud, Aggravated Identity Theft and Money Laundering
Corry E. Pearson, 28, of Riviera Beach, was found guilty by a jury of one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1349, sixteen counts of wire fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1343, eight counts of aggravated identity theft, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1028A, two counts of money laundering, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1956(a)(1)(B)(i), and two counts of money laundering, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1957.
Benjamin G. Greenberg, Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Kelly R. Jackson, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), Sarah J. Mooney, Chief, West Palm Beach Police Department, and Frank J. Kitzerow, Chief, Jupiter Police Department, made the announcement.
According to the evidence presented at trial, from 2012 through 2014, the defendant and his accomplices submitted more than 1600 federal income tax returns. In some cases, they used Tax King, Inc., a tax preparation business operated by the defendant, to file the returns. In other cases, they filed the returns using home tax preparation software, and falsely represented that the taxpayers had prepared and filed the returns themselves. Almost all the returns were fraudulent. In some cases, the defendant and his accomplices stole other people’s identities and filed Federal income tax returns in the victims’ names, collecting the refunds for themselves. The defendant and his accomplices also falsely reported that money had been withheld from taxpayers’ wages and gambling winnings, falsely claimed that the taxpayers were entitled to education credits when they had not in fact attended school in the years in question, and filed fraudulent returns in the names of inmates who were serving long sentences during the tax year of the return. In order to disguise their own identities, the defendant and his accomplices listed victims of identity theft as tax preparers on the returns they filed and directed that the refunds be deposited onto debit cards and into accomplices’ bank accounts. In total, the returns filed by the defendant and his accomplices sought at least $6,117,430 in tax refunds. Based on those returns, the Treasury paid out at least $1,356,240 in refunds.
Co-defendant Stephane Cindy Anor, 27, of West Palm Beach, pled guilty on August 29, 2017 to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Sentencing for Anor is scheduled for November 9, 2017. Irene Wilson, 51, of Riviera Beach, a defendant in a related case, pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States through false claims. On September 22, 2017, Wilson was sentenced to 12 months’ home confinement.
Sentencing for Pearson is scheduled for December 19, 2017 before U.S. District Judge Beth Bloom. Pearson faces a maximum possible statutory sentence of 20 years in prison for the conspiracy to commit wire fraud, 20 years in prison on each count of wire fraud, 20 years in prison on each count of money laundering, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1956(a)(1)(B)(i), 10 years in prison on each count of money laundering, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1957, and a mandatory sentence of 2 years in prison on each count of aggravated identity theft.
Mr. Greenberg commended the investigative efforts of IRS-CI, the West Palm Beach Police Department and Jupiter Police Department. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Marc Osborne and Roger Stefin.