The Wrong Kind of Education Leads to ClubFed

A California tax preparer decided he wanted to increase refunds for his clients. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that–I want my clients to get the maximum possible refund allowed under the law. It appears that Kenyon Williams forgot those last three words; he was found guilty of two counts of wire fraud and two counts of aggravated identity theft earlier today.

Mr. Williams prepared tax returns in San Diego and opened his own practice in 2011. In early 2012 he called a friend in Tampa, Alesia Spivey. Here’s what the Department of Justice press release says:

Williams called his friend and fellow tax return preparer, Alesia Spivey, who lived in Tampa, Florida, and discussed the 2012 tax season and Williams’ desire to maximize refund amounts for his clients. During this conversation, Williams solicited information from Spivey regarding methods used, in Tampa, to increase tax refunds.

There’s nothing wrong with this at all–in fact, it’s a good idea to learn from others. However, there was an issue. Continuing with the DOJ press release:

Spivey and Carlista Hawls explained to Williams that individuals in Tampa were using a particular interest income scheme to file bogus tax returns with the IRS. Spivey instructed Williams on how to fill out the tax returns by employing this interest income scheme.

This is where Mr. Williams should have said ‘Thanks, but no thanks,’ and hung up the phone. Because I’m writing this I’m sure you’re several steps ahead of me: Mr. Williams implemented the interest income scheme, and filed 168 fraudulent returns. This resulted in $517,744 of bogus refunds being issued.

But it didn’t end here:

In addition, on March 2, 2012, Spivey and Hawls flew to San Diego, California to meet with Williams. During that trip, Williams provided Spivey and Hawls with a list of names, dates of birth, and social security numbers, including a stack of Navy blood donor records, to be used in preparing fraudulent tax returns in Tampa.

Thus, the identity theft charges. Mr. Williams is looking at up to 49 years at ClubFed. Both Spivey and Hawls pleaded guilty earlier this year.

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