Fraud investigation on S. Tulsa tax preparer

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Updated: 3/05/2013 10:16 am Published: 3/04/2013 10:18 pm

A pop up tax preparer is accused of possibly scamming thousands of dollars from customers.

Today, Tulsa police and fraud detectives were called to Income Tax Plus located in the 1100 block of E. 61st Street near 61st & Peoria.

"I am one of the ones that keep coming back everyday and sometimes twice a day," said Lillie Mitchell.

She says she was supposed to receive her tax return in ten days and that was a month ago.

Customers claim they never got their tax return and were quoted less money than what the IRS said they were owed.

The employees may not be giving police answers and they wouldn’t give FOX23 News answers either.

One of the reported managers of the store, Anna Thompson, refused to answer questions and said the news didn’t need to know what was going on. 

Another reported manager, James Arny, refused to look at the news camera and sped off with Thompson. 

Police got a search warrant and hauled off boxes and computers hoping to find out if this is a tax scheme.

"This is crazy,” said Donald De’Sha. "They keep telling me it hasn't come in, there has been a setback, it's always something different."

He is one of 37 people who police say filed a report and are waiting to get their tax return.

Police are trying to figure out how the suspected scheme worked and where the money went, but believe the company shorted each customer $500 to $1,000.

Alejandro Gonzales was the first cusomter to alert police.

His paperwork from Income Tax Plus showed he had a return for a little more than $4,100 and IRS paperwork showed he had more than a $5,000 tax return.

"I didn't feel that something was right because they charged you $29,” said Gonzales. 

Mr. De’Sha says he was supposed to get more $3,000 but was quoted by the tax company to get $1,600. 

One woman says she was counting on her tax return to start over. 

“The place where I live at is a bad area and I want to move so I really need my tax,” said Mitchell. 

Mr. De’Sha says he was laid off and needed the money to take care of his family. 
"I was trying to catch up with my rent and take my kids shopping, can't do that now,”’ said De’Sha. 

The investigation is still ongoing and police have not arrested anyone. 

It’s unclear if the customers will get their money back.

If you believe you are a victim of tax preparer fraud report it to police by calling TPD Fraud and Forgery (918) 596-9209. 

The IRS reports it investigates on average 200 tax return preparer fraud cases each year. 

The IRS recommends when choosing a return preparer:

  • Be cautious of tax preparers who claim they can obtain larger refunds than other preparers.
  • Avoid preparers who base their fee on a percentage of the refund.
  • Use a reputable tax professional who signs the tax return and provides a copy.
  • Consider whether the individual or firm will be around to answer questions about the preparation of the tax return months, or even years, after the return has been filed.
  • Check the person's credentials. Only attorneys, certified public accountants (CPAs) and enrolled agents can represent taxpayers before the IRS in all matters, including audits, collection and appeals. Other return preparers may only represent taxpayers for audits of returns they actually prepared.
  • Find out if the preparer is affiliated with a professional organization that provides its members with continuing education and resources and holds them to a code of ethics.
  • Ask friends and family whether they know anyone who has used the tax professional and whether they were satisfied with the service they received.

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