Tax professional pleads guilty to filing false tax return documents

Staff Reports • Aug 16, 2017 at 10:56 PM

A Nashville tax return preparer pleaded guilty Tuesday in U.S. District Court to filing false tax returns, according to acting U.S. Attorney Jack Smith of the Middle District of Tennessee. 

Robert J. Spears, 35, pleaded guilty to one count of preparing a false tax return for his client and one count of filing his own false tax return. 

According to court documents, Spears worked as a salesperson and manager at a call center. From 2010-2012, Spears prepared and filed false tax returns for his coworkers at the call-center by claiming bogus education credits, student loan interest deductions and childcare expenses. 

Without his clients’ knowledge, Spears diverted a substantial portion of the refunds issued in his clients’ names to bank accounts under his control. Spears did not report the diversions on his own personal income tax returns, which he was required to do, nor did he include any of the money he earned preparing returns on his own tax returns. 

In total, Spears caused a tax loss of more than $180,000. 

Spears will be sentenced on Dec. 13. He faces a maximum sentence of three years in prison on each false return count, as well as a period of supervised released, restitution and monetary penalties. 

The Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation division investigated the case. Assistant United States Attorney Ryan R. Raybould of the Middle District of Tennessee is prosecuting the case on behalf of the United States.

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