A tax preparer based in Glendale was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of defrauding the U.S. Treasury of more than $645,000 in fraudulent tax refunds.
Registered tax preparer Vilen Tavatyan, 31, of Burbank, allegedly ran a scheme between February 2014 and April 2016 where he would prepare false federal income tax returns for new clients and include false business expenses or fictitious or inflated deductions, according to Van Nguyen of the IRS’ Criminal Division.
Then Tavatyan would electronically file the fraudulent tax forms to the IRS, causing the Treasury to disburse over $645,000 in refunds to his clients, Nguyen said. Tavatyan’s clients were allegedly audited 128 times as a result of the scheme.
Tavatyan was indicted by a federal grand jury on 19 counts of assisting in and advising the preparation of false tax returns, with each count carrying a statutory maximum sentence of three years in federal prison, and 10 counts of wire fraud, with each count carrying a maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison, according to Nguyen.
“Unscrupulous tax return preparers that solicit clients with false promises of large refunds not only victimize their clients but also seek to steal vital government funds, and they will be sought out by IRS Criminal Investigation,” said Special Agent in Charge Ryan L. Korner.
“Mr. Tavatyan’s indictment and arrest demonstrate the determination and hard work of our special agents to bring these alleged fraudsters to justice, and in doing so, protect the public trust.”
Tavatyan was released from custody Tuesday and ordered by a judge at his arraignment to not prepare taxes as part of his pre-trial release conditions, according to Nguyen.
Information about where Tavatyan was arrested was not available.