Two Tulare men defrauded more then 70 taxpayers out of nearly $50,000 in tax returns, a Fresno County jury found.
Roberto Olivares, 35, and his cousin Rojelio Martin, 31, pleaded guilty on Monday to 10 counts of wire fraud.
Olivares and Martin prepared personal tax returns for clients of their Tulare-based business, Success Income Tax Services.
Attorneys found that between January 2008 and May 2008, Martin, a licensed tax preparer, took personal information from clients to use in preparing their tax returns. After preparing correct tax returns showing a refund due to the client, Olivares and Martin would change the returns to reflect a different and lower refund amount than the clients were entitled to receive.
The two then gave copies of the false tax returns to the clients, saying that they were copies of what was filed with the Internal Revenue Service.
According to court documents, Olivares and Martin filed the correct tax returns with the IRS. In the part of the "accurate" return that asked where the refund was to be distributed and in what amounts, the defendants directed that the refund be divided between the client and the defendants. The client received the amount per the false return given to them, and the amount in excess of what the client received went into the defendants' bank account.
This case is the product of an investigation by IRS Criminal Investigation.
Olivares and Martin are scheduled to be sentenced on May 20. They face a maximum of 20 years in prison for each count and a $250,000 fine.