On Dec. 22, 2014 in Roanoke, Virginia, Donna J. Tucker was sentenced to 60 months in prison and ordered to pay $976,485 in restitution to victims. Tucker pleaded guilty to wire fraud and tax evasion charges. In evidence presented at sentencing, Tucker was an investment advisor in Roanoke from 2007 through April 2013. She stole directly from, and caused loss to, the accounts of two sets of victims. In August 2010, Tucker forged the signature of one of her clients, an elderly couple who held a joint account, in order to obtain a line of credit, supposedly for the clients, through her firm’s banking arm. Tucker took these actions without the knowledge or consent of the victim. Approximately one year later, on Aug. 4, 2011, Tucker caused to be transmitted a wire transfer of $295,000 from the victim’s account to her own account at a local credit union. These funds were used to benefit Tucker and her family. In addition, Tucker took steps to ensure the victims did not learn of the unauthorized transfer by instructing others at her firm to place the victims in an all-electronic delivery system that would send the victim’s account statements by email. Tucker also made false statements to the victims, other employees at the firm and created false documents in order to carry out the scheme. Additionally, in calendar year 2011, Tucker reported to the IRS a taxable income of $125,333. She failed to report additional taxable income of at least $340,000, which resulted in an additional tax of at least $115,000 being owed to the United States.
Owner of Landscaping Business Sentenced for Diverting Over $2 Million of Business Receipts
On March 12, 2015, in Camden, New Jersey, Nicholas Lepore, of Deptford, was sentenced to 12 months and one day in prison and two years of supervised release. Lepore previously pleaded guilty to tax evasion. Lepore owned and operated Down to Earth Landscaping and Irrigation, Inc. (Down to Earth), which provided landscaping and irrigation services to commercial and residential customers. Down to Earth was a subchapter S corporation and as the owner, Lepore was required to report the flow through income and losses from Down to Earth on his personal tax returns. Lepore routinely cashed customer checks at local check cashing businesses to disguise the amount of income received by Down to Earth. Customer checks totaling $2,148,862 were deposited in years 2007 through 2010. Additionally, Lepore failed to file tax returns for the years 2007 through 2010 and thus, did not include any of the customer checks as income.
Multiple South Carolina residents were arrested today on various charges including Tax Evasion, Forgery, and Assisting in the Preparation of a Fraudulent or False Return. The arrests are part of the SC Department of Revenue’s efforts to crack down on tax preparers who illegally benefit by filing fraudulent tax returns on behalf of clients but without their knowledge or consent.
“While there are many excellent and reputable tax preparers, unfortunately there are some who unlawfully take advantage of unsuspecting clients,” said Rick Reames, Director of the SC Department of Revenue. “We urge South Carolinians to use great care and caution when selecting tax preparation assistance.”
Today’s arrests are outlined below and carry the following criminal penalties upon conviction:
- Assisting in the Preparation of a Fraudulent or False Return — up to five years imprisonment and/or up to a $500 fine per count
- Forgery — up to five years imprisonment and/or up to a $10,000 fine per count
- Income Tax Evasion — up to five years imprisonment and/or up to a $10,000 fine per count
Darryl Wallace, Barnwell County
Darryl Wallace of Williston, SC, is charged with 10 counts of Assisting in the Preparation of a Fraudulent or False Return and one count of Forgery. During 2012 Wallace, without consent or knowledge of his clients, knowingly inflated wage and withholding amounts on W-2s and created fraudulent itemized deductions to generate increased tax refunds for his clients. Wallace also included a fraudulent W-2 with his 2012 individual state income tax return in order to receive a higher refund. The tax due as determined by civil audit collectively amounts to $22,828.
Wallace is currently being held at the Barnwell County Detention Center awaiting a bond hearing.
Nathan Norman Widener, Horry County
Nathan Norman Widener of North Myrtle Beach, SC, was arrested on three counts of Income Tax Evasion and 13 counts of Assisting in the Preparation of a Fraudulent or False Return. For tax years 2010, 2011 and 2012, Widener evaded the assessment of income taxes by filing fraudulent South Carolina individual income tax returns. The total tax evaded and owed to the state is $11,433.
For tax years 2010, 2011 and 2012, Widener also prepared and electronically submitted 13 fraudulent individual state income tax returns for clients, reporting losses from businesses that did not exist and claiming unentitled deductions, all without client knowledge or consent. As a result of filing fraudulent income tax returns, Widener’s clients owe the state a total of $60,389.
Widener is currently being held at the J. Rueben Long Detention Center in Horry County awaiting a bond hearing.
Mark Eric Widener and Sharon Rogers Widener, Horry County
Mark Eric Widener and wife Sharon Rogers Widener, both of Little River, SC, were each charged with four counts of Income Tax Evasion. For tax years 2009 through 2012, the Wideners evaded the assessment of income taxes by creating fake businesses with expenses. The Wideners claimed a total of $10,084 in income subject to state tax on their South Carolina married filing jointly tax returns from 2009 through 2012, yet the actual income subject to tax for these years was $488,718. Mark Widener also evaded the assessment of state tax by filing multiple fraudulent W-4 withholding allowance forms with his employer. The total tax evaded and owed to South Carolina by Mark and Sharon Widener is $31,321.
Both Mark and Sharon Widener are being held at the J. Rueben Long Detention Center in Horry County awaiting bond hearings.