This week, it was announced that a federal grand jury had returned an 11-count indictment against 54-year-old Chris Donnell Smith of Stockton, California. The indictment charges Smith with assisting in the preparation of false tax returns. The indictment alleges that Smith prepared federal income tax returns for New Covenant Tax & Accounting in Modesto. He is accused of preparing fraudulent returns for a number of his clients. The returns allegedly reported false items or dollar amounts without the clients’ knowledge or consent.
For some of the clients, Smith allegedly prepared a correct tax return, which was given to the client. Then, he electronically filed a fraudulent return claiming a higher refund. The defendant is accused of directing the payment of the refund to be split. The amount promised to the client was directed to the client’s bank account. The additional amount went into an account controlled by Smith.
The indictment claims that Smith defrauded the Internal Revenue Service of roughly $63,000. At this point in time, the defendant is innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law. If convicted, Smith will face a maximum penalty of three years in prison. Further details have been made available here.