MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - Mo' problems for Mo' Money Taxes, this time in the form of criminal charges. A Mo' Money franchise owner from Memphis is accused of filing bogus tax returns in Missouri.
"We are investigating internally," Co-Founder Markey Granberry said via text.
In an indictment unsealed on Wednesday, Jimi Clark, 57, and four employees were charged with filing false tax returns with inflated educational tax credits on 47 returns at a franchise location in Missouri.
According to the U.S. Attorney of the Eastern District of Missouri, Clark and four other defendants identified as Justin Buford, 26, Leslie Chaney, 43, Ray Reed 38, and Mary Taylor, 48, allegedly abused the American Opportunity Credit on at least 47 returns filed in the 2009 tax year.
"We want everyone who files a tax return to take advantage of the credits to which they are entitled by law; however, claiming phony credits to enrich themselves defrauds the government and the taxpaying public," said Stephen Boyd, Special Agent in Charge of IRS Criminal Investigations.
In a release to announce the charges, the U.S. Attorney's Office said, "Out of 494 tax returns prepared for the 2009 tax year at Clark's franchise, more than half, 288 returns, claimed AO credits. On each of the 47 returns, the taxpayers did not incur the educational expenses claimed and were, therefore, not entitled to AO credits."
"Defendants Chaney, Reed and Buford went so far as to false claim educational expenses on their personal 2009 returns," the release stated. "The tax loss to the United States on just the 47 returns listed in the indictment exceeds $50,000."
"I have no knowledge of the situation and I did not authorize no preparer to do fraud and corporate office had nothing to do with it," Granberry wrote via text.
If convicted, the five could face up to 5 years in prison.