(STL.News) – A federal grand jury in Charlotte, North Carolina returned an indictment yesterday, charging three Charlotte tax preparers with conspiring to defraud the United States, announced Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard E. Zuckerman of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and First Assistant U.S. Attorney William Stetzer for the Western District of North Carolina.
Four additional Charlotte tax preparers also named in yesterday’s indictment previously were charged with conspiring to defraud the United States in separate charging documents filed earlier this week.
According to the indictment, Joseph Octave owned and operated Kapital Financial Services, a tax return preparation business with two offices located in Charlotte, North Carolina. From 2014 through at least 2019, Octave and his employees, including Vonyeda Carson, Wendia Courtois, Whitney Vargas-Medrano, Melissa Greene, Natisha Holloman, and Kimberly Joline allegedly conspired to falsify clients’ tax returns by claiming deductions, business losses, American Opportunity credits, education credits, and earned income tax credits that the clients did not incur, in order to fraudulently increase refunds to be paid by the IRS. The indictment further charges that during some of these years, Carson and Courtois filed false tax returns in their own names.
Octave, Carson, and Courtois were charged in yesterday’s indictment. Joline, Holloman, Greene, and Vargas-Medrano were named in yesterday’s indictment but were separately charged by criminal informations filed on July 20, 2020.
If convicted, each defendant faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison on the conspiracy charge. Octave, Carson, and Courtois additionally face a maximum sentence of three years in prison on each count of aiding and assisting in the preparation of a false tax return. Carson and Courtois also face a maximum sentence of three years in prison for filing their own false tax returns. The defendants also face a period of supervised release, restitution, and monetary penalties.
An indictment or information merely alleges that crimes have been committed. The defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Zuckerman and First Assistant U.S. Attorney Stetzer commended special agents of IRS-Criminal Investigation, who conducted the investigation, and Trial Attorney Brian Flanagan of the Tax Division and Assistant U.S. Attorney Caryn Finley, who are prosecuting the case.