Utah Tax Preparers Sentenced to Prison for Filing False Tax Returns

Alma Barlow and Denver Barlow, formerly of Hildale, Utah, were sentenced in federal court today to 24 months in prison each for conspiracy to file false claims, announced Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard E. Zuckerman of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and U.S. Attorney John W. Huber for the District of Utah.

According to court documents, from 2009 to 2014, the defendants held themselves out to the public as legitimate tax return preparers, though they filed over 700 false tax returns for themselves and for hundreds of unknowing clients, ultimately claiming over $9.7 million in false refunds from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

In furtherance of their conspiracy, the defendants added false entries to tax returns to trigger the Earned Income Tax Credit or added false figures for federal income tax withholdings, Form 1099-OID income tax withholdings, or Schedule C business expenses in order to fraudulently increase the amount of the claimed refunds.

In addition to the term of imprisonment, U.S. District Court Judge Ted Stewart ordered the defendants to each serve three years of supervised release, and to pay over $5.3 million in restitution to the United States.

Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Zuckerman and U.S. Attorney Huber thanked special agents of IRS-Criminal Investigation, who conducted the investigation, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Tyler Murray and Trial Attorney Matthew Hoffman of the Tax Division, who prosecuted the case.

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