Florida Return Preparer Sentenced to 97 Months in Prison

F.P. Report

FLORIDA: A Florida tax return preparer was sentenced yesterday to 97 months in prison for preparing false tax returns for his clients.

According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, Fred Pickett Jr., of Belle Glade, owned and operated a tax return business he used to prepare false individual income tax returns. From 2013 to 2016, Pickett prepared tax returns for some of his clients claiming they owned fictitious businesses that lost tens of thousands of dollars each year. Pickett included these nonexistent companies, as well as other false deductions and tax credits, on his clients’ returns to generate refunds they were not entitled to receive. In December 2021, Pickett was convicted at trial of 22 counts of aiding and assisting the preparation of false tax returns.

In addition to the term of imprisonment, U.S. District Judge Robin L. Rosenberg ordered Pickett to serve one year of supervised release and pay approximately $169,639 in restitution to the IRS.

Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stuart M. Goldberg of the Justice Department’s Tax Division made the announcement.

IRS-Criminal Investigation investigated the case.

Trial Attorneys Parker Tobin and Patrick Elwell of the Tax Division prosecuted the case.