Ryan Beasley Law
Close Menu X Close Menu X
What can we help you find?

Tax professional acquitted in federal tax fraud trial

An Ohio tax preparer feels vindicated (and relieved) after a jury acquitted him on 21 counts of tax fraud.  He was facing the prospect of not merely losing his professional license but spending the rest of his life in prison.

Although the case had a happy ending, it was a years-long ordeal for the accused. The case reveals the powers of the government and the extreme lengths the IRS will go to in prosecuting alleged tax crimes.

IRS suspicious of tax credits on multiple returns

Sergio Gardea, a tax preparer for a tax and accounting firm, was initially charged with 30 counts of tax fraud. The case involved 30 tax returns which improperly claimed the Child Tax Credit. All of the dependents claimed under the credit were living outside of the United States, which triggered red flags at the IRS. To qualify for the credit, dependents must live in the U.S. all or most of the year.

Gardea maintained that he did not knowingly claim the credit for ineligible persons. He testified that he prepared the returns in good faith based on the information provided to him. At one point in the investigation, the IRS had sent in an undercover agent to see if their suspect would suggest or go along with bogus tax credits. Gardea prepared that return without claiming the Child Tax Credit, telling the client (agent) that he didn’t qualify.

The government’s cased hinged on 3,600 returns over a four-year period that claimed $8 million worth of Child Tax Credit and/or Additional Child Tax Credits. Prosecutors failed to prove a tax evasion conspiracy or criminal intent by Gardea. In the end, all that was proved was that the majority of his individual taxpayer clients have dependents (quite normal) and that his clientele includes many families with connections in Mexico and Central America.

A victory for tax professionals everywhere

The investigation and prosecution lasted five years. After a two-week trial, the federal jury acquitted Gardea on all 21 remaining counts. The prosecutor had dropped nine other counts at the conclusion of the trial. Mr. Gardea expressed gratitude that justice was (eventually) served, thanking the judge for his fairness and the jury for keeping an open mind.

If the IRS is asking questions or you have any inkling that you or your business are under investigation for tax fraud, find a criminal defense lawyer who handles white collar crimes and practices in federal court. Early intervention by legal counsel will either defuse a government probe or find out where you stand in order to mount a defense.



No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

Over my career, I have earned a number of honors reflecting my professionalism and commitment to my clients. These awards include:

    • 10 best 2016 client satisfaction American institute of personal injury attorneys
    • 10 best 2016 client satisfaction American institute of criminal law attorneys
    • Martindale-Hubbell | Distinguished | Peer Rated for High Professional Achievement | 2019
    • National Academy of Criminal Defense Attorneys
    • The National Trial Lawyers | Top 100 Trial Lawyers
    • The National Trial Lawyers | Top 40 Under 40
    • Nationally Ranked Superior DUI Attorney By the nafdd | 2013
    • Top Young Attorneys | 2014 | Rising Stars selected by Peer Recognition and Professional Achievement
    • Rated By Super Lawyers | Rising Stars | Ryan L. Beasley | SuperLawyers.com
    • America's Most Honored Professionals | Ryan L. Beasley
    • Martindale-Hubbell | Client Champion | Gold / 2019
    • Expertise | Best Criminal Defense Lawyers in Greenville
    • 2015 Legal Elite of the Upstate | Greenville's Top Attorneys
    • Legal Elite of the Upstate
    • Legal Elite of the Upstate 2013-2018
    • Client Distinction Award | Ryan L. Beasley, Esq.
    • Client Champion 2019 | Ryan L. Beasley | Gold
    • Highest Possible Rating in Both Legal Ability & Ethical Standards | Ryan L. Beasley, Esq.

Need Legal Advice?

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy