Fishers tax return preparer David Franklin has pled guilty to three counts of procuring the preparation of false federal income tax returns, United States Attorney Josh Minkler announced March 3.
“When someone cheats on their tax returns, let’s call it what it is — stealing,” Minkler said in a release from the Department of Justice. “Federal budgets are not bottomless accounts and when individuals steal from the government, the difference must be made up by honest tax-paying citizens.”
Franklin, 43, owned and operated more than 20 Instant Tax Service locations around Indianapolis. His efforts resulted in more than 2,300 false federal income tax returns filed by ITS between 2010 and 2012, resulting in a loss to the Internal Revenue Service and the American public of $1,501,000.
As a part of his plea agreement, Franklin will be ordered to pay full restitution and each of the three counts he’s pled guilty to is punishable by a maximum sentence of three years’ imprisonment, a $250,000 fine and one year of supervised release following imprisonment. Franklin’s sentencing date is scheduled for Oct. 14.
“With tax season upon us, I want to assure the American taxpayers that IRS Criminal Investigation is focused on protecting revenue by investigating abusive tax return preparers,” IRS Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge James D. Robnett said in a statement. “While most return preparers are honest and provide excellent service, a few unscrupulous tax preparers file false and fraudulent returns to defraud their clients and the United States government. Today we are putting those dishonest tax preparers on notice; we are watching your activities more closely than ever before. Today’s guilty plea should send a loud message to those dishonest return preparers thinking of engaging in criminal activity.”