Maryland Tax Preparer Sentenced to 27 Months in Prison for Filing Over 1,000 False Tax Returns

Emma Grant

A former Baltimore, Maryland tax preparer has been sentenced to over two years in prison for preparing and filing over 1,000 false federal income tax returns for his clients in a multi-million dollar fraud scheme.

Adis Smith, who recently moved to Chula Vista, California from Baltimore, Maryland was sentenced on Friday to 27 months in prison and one year of supervised release by U.S. District Judge Stephanie A. Gallagher. He was also ordered to pay $4.7 million in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

According to court documents, Smith systematically prepared fraudulent tax returns for his clients from at least 2015 to 2019. He fabricated business losses, inflated deductions, and falsified other information to lower his clients’ tax liabilities or generate larger refunds.

Smith attempted to conceal the fraud by filing the returns as a “ghost preparer,” listing the client rather than himself as the preparer. In total, he filed over 1,000 false returns causing a staggering $4.7 million tax loss to the government.

“This defendant abused his position of trust as a tax preparer to line his own pockets at the expense of the American taxpayer,” said Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stuart M. Goldberg of the Justice Department’s Tax Division in a statement. “This sentence should make clear that disguising fraudulent returns as ‘self-prepared’ will not shield dishonest tax preparers from prosecution and prison.”

IRS Criminal Investigation investigated the extensive tax fraud scheme along with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland.

“Honest taxpayers expect and deserve tax professionals who comply with the law,” said IRS CI Special Agent in Charge Thomas J. Holloman. “Dishonest return preparers who manipulate the tax system for personal gain will be held accountable.”

With the 2023 tax filing season underway, the case serves as a reminder for taxpayers to choose their tax preparers carefully and be wary of preparers promising inflated refunds.

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