305 371-8101

Tax Preparer Convicted of Filing False Returns for Clients

USA v. ALI,  616 F.3d 745  (8th Cir. 2010)

Ali was convicted in the United States District Court for the District of Nebraska under 26 U.S.C. 7206(2) of aiding and assisting in the preparation of false individual income tax returns. Defendant appealed.

Ali operated a tax return preparation business. He was accused of preparing tax returns that claimed dependents and credits of which taxpayers were not entitled and of taking a portion of the larger refund.

Ali claimed that an exhibit that included bank records and a letter from bank employee was testimonial and violated the Confrontation Clause. The court of appeals held that the records were non-testimonial; although the letter was arguably testimonial, its admission did not affect  defendant's substantial rights.  

Testimony of taxpayers whose returns did not form the basis of any of the charges was admissible under Fed. R. Evid. 404(b) to show intent, as defendant claimed that he did not have knowledge that the representations in the returns were false.

An Internal Revenue Service agent's testimony that signatures on tax forms appeared similar to the signatures on defendant's bank and fingerprint cards was admissible under Fed. R. Evid. 901 and 701. The evidence was sufficient for conviction; it was up to the jury to resolve any contradictions in testimony.

The conviction was affirmed.