CHARLOTTE, N.C. – This week, the U.S. Attorney’s Office has charged seven Charlotte tax return preparers for conspiring to defraud the IRS.
Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard E. Zuckerman of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and Matthew D. Line, Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division, Charlotte Field Office (IRS-CI), join the U.S. Attorney’s Office in making today’s announcement.
A federal grand jury sitting in Charlotte returned a 20-count indictment yesterday, charging Joseph Octave, 47, Vonyeda Carson, 36, and Wendia Courtois, 44, all of Charlotte, with conspiring to defraud the United States, aiding and assisting in the preparation of false tax returns for their clients, and in some cases filing false personal tax returns. The indictment also identifies four other tax preparers who were charged earlier this week by criminal informations with conspiracy to defraud the United States. They are, Melissa Greene, 39, Natisha Holloman, 41, Kimberly Joline 30, and Whitney Vargas-Medrano, 31, also from Charlotte.
According to the filed charging documents, Joseph Octave owned and operated Kapital Financial Services, a tax return preparation business with two offices located in Charlotte. Since 2014, Octave and his employees, including Carson, Courtois, Vargas-Medrano, Greene, Holloman, and Joline conspired to defraud the United States by preparing and filing tax returns on behalf of clients that claimed fabricated and fraudulent items, including Schedule A deductions, Schedule C business income and losses, American Opportunity credits, education credits, and earned income tax credits. Octave, Greene, Joline, and Vargas-Medrano trained Kapital Financial Services employees to falsify federal income tax returns. The training material provided to employees included scripts and cheat sheets. The indictment further alleges that Carson and Courtois filed false personal tax returns.
If convicted, the defendants face a maximum sentence of five years in prison on the conspiracy charge. Octave, Carson, and Courtois face a maximum of three years in prison on each of the counts alleging they aided and assisted in the preparation of false income tax returns. Carson and Courtois face a maximum sentence of three years on each of the counts alleging they signed and filed their own false tax returns.
The indictments and informations merely allege that crimes have been committed. The defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
In making today’s announcement the U.S. Attorney’s Office and Principal Deputy Assistant General Zuckerman commended special agents of IRS-Criminal Investigation, who conducted the investigation,
Assistant U.S. Attorney Caryn Finley and Trial Attorney Brian Flanagan of the Tax Division are prosecuting the case.