Greene County News

DAYTON — Robert Coates, 42, of Xenia, was sentenced to 18 months in prison, three years of supervised release, and $445,450 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service for filing false claims for income tax refunds with the IRS.

Coates in July pleaded guilty in federal court to filing false claims for income tax refunds with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

He faced a maximum of five years in prison and a fine up to $250,000.

According to court documents, between January 2012 and July 2012, Coates filed false claims for income tax refunds with the IRS. Coates presented himself to be a tax preparer in Xenia, and filed fraudulent income tax returns on behalf of individuals who were referred to Coates by other taxpayers or for those who responded to a flyer Coates distributed in and around the Xenia area, according to a press release from the IRS.

“IRS Criminal Investigation stands ready to investigate anyone who would put a taxpayer at risk for a quick profit,” said Kathy A. Enstrom, special agent in charges, IRS Criminal Investigation, Cincinnati Field Office. “Our special agents use their investigative and financial expertise to detect and hold accountable abusive tax return preparers who falsely tell taxpayers they are eligible for tax credits that they are not entitled to receive.”

Coates enticed individuals to allow him to file their income tax returns by explaining to them that they would receive an income tax refund even if they did not work or were receiving disability payments, the release said.

Unbeknownst to the taxpayers, the IRS said Coates included fraudulent amounts of income in the form of Household Help income (known as “HSH”) in order to maximize the earned income credit and to generate an income tax refund. In addition, Coates included fraudulent amounts of qualified educational expenses in order to generate a refundable education credit. Coates filed these income tax returns knowing that the HSH income amounts and qualified education expenses were fraudulent and the claimed income tax credits and refunds were fraudulent, the IRS said. Coates collected his fee by diverting a portion of the income tax refund into one or more bank accounts that he controlled.

In total, Coates filed at least 170 false income tax returns for 2011 income tax year, causing a loss to the IRS in the amount of $445,450, of which $167,422.63 was directed into bank accounts in Coates’ name or under his control, according to the press release.

Greene County News report compiled by Scott Halasz.