WASHINGTON – Bruce King, the owner and operator of Premier Tax, pleaded guilty in federal court this week to charges of conspiring to defraud the United States and filing false tax returns, the Justice Department and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced today. Additionally, on Thursday, Vonecia Orum, a return preparer who worked at Premier Tax, pleaded guilty to delivering false tax returns to the IRS.
With the guilty pleas of King and Orum, a total of nine people associated with Premier Tax have now been convicted of crimes. Six were named in a 28-count indictment that was returned on March 28, 2012. These six were King and Orum, as well as Antoinette Djonret, Nakesha Donaldson, Angela Smith and Jenika Williams, all of whom had previously pleaded guilty. In July and August of 2011, three other defendants – Tonja Toney, Kimberly Womack and Kina Lane – pleaded guilty to criminal informations charging them with filing false tax returns.
According to court documents, Premier Tax was a tax preparation business operated by King that had several locations in Alabama and in Georgia. King held training sessions in which he taught preparers how to falsify tax returns in order to fraudulently increase clients’ tax refunds. Those he taught went on to work at Premier Tax and filed numerous false tax returns. According to court documents, the tax loss caused by these fraudulent returns exceeded $1 million.
Court records also indicated that in addition to falsifying tax returns, some preparers working at Premier Tax also used false dependents on tax returns – they would use people’s personal identifying information, without their consent, as dependents on clients’ tax returns. Four of the defendants—Djonret, Donaldson, Smith, and Williams—were involved in this aspect of Premier Tax and they pleaded guilty to charges of aggravated identity theft, in addition to charges of conspiracy to defraud the United States or filing false tax returns.