What Part of “Permanent Injunction” Didn’t You Understand?

Last September, Gerardo Herrera found himself the target of the IRS and the US Department of Justice. Mr. Herrera owned a tax preparation business, El Lobo Multiservicios Professionales Inc. in Colorado. According to the indictment issued last September, Mr. Herrera and his business invented dependents, claimed personal expenses as business expenses, and added phony deductions. The DOJ press release notes that the IRS audited more than 200 of their returns and found misrepresentations on more than 99 percent of them.

It reads like “normal” return preparer fraud.

Come January, a federal court issued a permanent injunction:

A federal court has permanently barred a Colorado man and his tax preparation business from preparing federal tax returns, the Justice Department announced today. The United States filed a civil complaint against Gerardo Herrera and his business, El Lobo Multiservicios Professionales Inc., contending that they fraudulently reduced their customers’ tax liabilities by reporting extra dependents and claiming bogus deductions. After the defendants failed to respond to the complaint, on Jan. 7, 2016, Judge John L. Kane entered an order permanently banning Herrera from preparing returns.

Again, what you would expect. Mr. Herrera was told to stop preparing returns and to turn over his customer list (he had 45 days to do that).

He didn’t do either. He continued to prepare returns and he didn’t supply his customer list. If a federal court orders you to stop doing something, you don’t get a choice (other than the right to appeal that decision).

The injunction also directed Herrera to provide a list of his customers to the United States, notify his customers of the injunction and file a sworn statement attesting that he had complied within 45 days of the injunction. The United States asked the court to hold Herrera in contempt for his failure to comply with these provisions and alleged that he continued to operate two tax preparation offices and/or assist others in operating the offices. After hearing testimony from two Internal Revenue Service (IRS) witnesses who had visited Herrera’s offices, Judge Kane found Herrera in contempt and ordered that he be held in custody until he purges his contempt by, among other things, notifying all his prior customers of the permanent injunction, providing a list of his customers to the United States, surrendering his Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) and posting a copy of the injunction in his place of business.

Mr. Herrera is being held at ClubFed until he closes his business and complies with the injunction. Mr. Herrera earned one other thing: He’s the first nominee for the 2016 Tax Offender of the Year Award! Congratulations!

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