A federal grand jury indicted a Baton Rouge man Thursday, accusing him of defrauding the Internal Revenue Service of more than $119,000 in 2006 in false tax returns through his tax return preparation business.
Ronald Wayne Wilkerson, 42, was indicted on one count of interference with administration of Internal Revenue laws, 13 counts of assisting the preparation of false tax returns, six counts of bank fraud, two counts of engaging in a monetary transaction and one count of money laundering.
Wilkerson faces a maximum sentence of 232 years in prison, up to $9.5 million in fines and forfeiture of all proceeds of the false transactions if convicted, according to a news release from U.S. Attorney Donald J. Cazayoux Jr.’s office.
The indictment gives the following account:
Wilkerson formed Wilkerson Tax Services, or WTS, in July 2004 with locations on Plank Road and Donmoor Avenue.
Wilkerson’s business filed 635 false tax returns in 2006, claiming $1,415,388 in false refunds.
The IRS issued $119,450 in refunds because of those false claims. The IRS did not pay the remaining $1,295,938 after the fraud was discovered.
The IRS searched Wilkerson’s business on April 12, 2007, and on the same day, Wilkerson withdrew $420,000 from WTS’ official Chase bank account.
Wilkerson also established a banking relationship with HSBC Bank to offer clients various financial services such as refund checks and refund-anticipation loans.
WTS clients authorized the bank to deduct tax-preparer fees from their tax refunds, directly depositing those fees into bank accounts controlled by Wilkerson.
HSBC Bank paid Wilkerson’s business $485,939 in fees because of the claims. HSBC Bank also approved 225 refund anticipation loans to WTS’ clients, costing the bank $500,959.