El Paso Tax Return Preparers Convicted of Tax Fraud for Filing False Returns

Three El Paso, Texas, tax return preparers have been convicted by a federal jury of conspiracy to defraud the U.S. by preparing and filing fraudulent federal income tax returns with the IRS.

According to court records, the three tax preparers — Belia Mendoza, 60; Margarita Hernandez, 36; and Denise Duchene, 46 — were employed by Mendez Tax Services (MTS), a tax preparation company owned by Mendoza. Beginning in February 2009 until June 2011, the three women conspired to prepare and file with the IRS numerous false individual federal income tax returns.

The three women were accused of including false information on the tax returns of clients to maximize returns sometimes without the knowledge or consent of the clients. Some of the falsified information included inflated or phony figures for education credits, child and dependent care expenses, unreimbursed employee business expenses as well as improperly claimed tax credits.

“It’s tax season and the guilty verdicts for Belia Mendoza and her relatives, Margarita Hernandez and Denise Duchene, are proof that taxpayers are fed up with tax fraud and abuse,” said Special Agent in Charge William Cotter of IRS-Criminal Investigation, San Antonio. “Dishonest return preparers use a variety of methods to cheat the government. Remember, it is your responsibility to know what is on your income tax return. You are ultimately responsible for what gets filed with the IRS. Taxpayers are encouraged to visit the IRS.gov website for tips on looking for a reputable return preparer.”

Each of the three tax preparers face up to five years in federal prison on the conspiracy charge and up to three years in prison for each false tax return preparation charge. The case was brought by the IRS Criminal Investigation unit and the U.S. Justice Department.

The Cogdell Law Firm is a boutique law firm focusing on large, complex business and criminal financial-related litigation, including white collar criminal defense, securities fraud, health care fraud investigation, criminal appeals and state criminal defense. When results matter most, contact Dan Cogdell at (713) 426-2244 or dan@cogdell-law.com.

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