A tax preparer in Vallejo has struck a plea deal in federal court this week, pleading guilty to a variety of charges, including falsifying information on tax returns prepared for customers.
A tax attorney in San Jose has learned that Emilio Lara faces a $100,000 fine and up to three years in prison for willfully assisting taxpayers to prepare and submit phony income tax returns.
Tax Preparer Takes Plea Deal in Federal Court
According to a press statement by Phillip A. Talbert, US Attorney for the Eastern District of California’s Department of Justice, Lara, of American Canyon, took the plea deal on Tuesday in a Sacramento courtroom. Lara, 55, was the owner of Lara’s Income Tax Services, according to court documents, and the tax preparation business operated in Vallejo in the 1000 block of Tennessee Street. The plea agreement includes Lara paying restitution to the Internal Revenue Service in the amount of $7,868 for the tax fraud that was committed when the bogus returns were sent to the IRS. However, he may also face prison time and a fine of up to $100,000. Additionally, Lara consented to a tax preparation injunction, the latter of which refers to permanent exclusion from the tax service field: He can no longer file or prepare federal tax returns or documents, with the exception of his own yearly income tax return.
Fraudulent Practices Used by Vallejo Tax Service From 2009 to 2012
From 2009 to 2012, Lara prepared tax returns for individual customers and willfully inflated specific deductions under Schedule A, which covers items such as donations to charitable organizations, business expenses, and interest costs. On multiple returns, Lara listed falsely inflated amounts for unreimbursed employee expenses, dental and medical expenses, charitable contributions made by check or cash, and other related deductions that fall under miscellaneous categories. United States attorney Talbert noted that this resulted in a significant monetary loss to the IRS. Those who took donations to which they were not entitled may owe back taxes in the future, according to an IRS tax attorney.
Sentencing Scheduled for January 10, 2023
The prosecution was led by Assistant United States Attorneys Emily Sauvageau and Michael Anderson, and the case was investigated through the criminal division of the IRS. Lara is scheduled for sentencing by United States District Judge Dale A. Drozd on January 10 of next year. Whether or not Lara will spend time in prison or be required to pay a six-figure fine remains to be seen. According to Talbert, a number of variables will be taken into account when the sentence is handed down, but it will ultimately be at the discretion of the court and relevant federal sentencing guidelines. David J. Cohen, Lara’s tax attorney, made no public comment this week. Contacting a tax attorney in San Jose is the wisest course of action for those who owe back taxes or who have concerns about whether or not their tax return was filed properly.