Tax fraud convictions can carry large fines and jail time, as well as increase the risk of future investigation by the IRS. The co-owners of a Mobile County tax preparation company may face these penalties as a result of indictment on multiple counts of tax fraud, conspiracy, and identity theft.
On Wednesday, Gerrode and Artemius Smith, co-owners of Smith’s Tax Service, and Gerrode’s wife Pamela pled not guilty to charges ranging from conspiracy to fraud to aggravated identity theft. Gerrode allegedly prepared 14 fraudulent returns between 2009 and 2010.
Gerrode, 34, is accused of falsely claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit for his cousin Artemius, 26. In addition, the indictment claims that Gerrode listed fraudulent deductions for clients, some of whom were unaware of Gerrode’s activities. Other bogus deductions included fraudulent dependent claims, fabricated business income, and unlawful use of the first-time homebuyer credit. In addition, Gerrode is accused of using 5 different Social Security numbers to file fraudulent tax returns.
Gerrode’s wife Pamela, 45, is accused of preparing false tax returns.
The defense attorney representing Artemius Smith does not believe his client was fully aware of Gerrode’s activity, citing an absence of prior tax offenses.
If convicted on the charge of conspiracy, the Smiths may face up to 5 years in prison. If Gerrode is convicted on the charge of aggravated identity theft, he will face an additional mandatory 2-year prison sentence.
More information on this story can be found at al.com.