Former tax preparer charged with tax fraud

A former Des Moines tax preparer has been charged with tax fraud.
Lony Tap Gatwas was charged November 21 in an 18-count indictment with preparing and presenting false tax returns, wire fraud and aggravated identity theft, U.S. Attorney Kevin E. VanderSchel says.

According to the indictment, Gatwas operated a tax preparation business in Des Moines where he prepared and filed federal personal income tax returns on behalf of taxpayers from on around February 2011 through at least March 2013.

Officials with the Department of Justice said Gatwas devised a scheme to defraud by claiming dependents on taxpayers’ returns when he knew the dependents did not meet IRS requirements. Gatwas charged taxpayers an additional fee for each dependent he put on their return.

Gatwas trial is set for January 30, 2017 at the Des Moines Federal Courthouse.

Gatwas faces a minimum prison term of two years and up to a $250,000 fine for the crime of aggravated identity theft, if convicted.

Preparing and presenting a false tax return is punishable by a maximum of three years imprisonment and a maximum $100,000 fine. The crime of wire fraud has a maximum prison term of 20 years, and up to a $250,000 fine.


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