A Perry Hall man has been sentenced to more than four years in prison for aiding in filing false tax returns that claimed hundreds of thousands of dollars in fraudulent business losses, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Maryland announced.
Obinna Felix Ukwu, 54, of Perry Hall, was sentenced on Wednesday by U.S. District Judge Catherine C. Blake to 51 months in prison, followed by one year of supervised release. Ukwu must also pay restitution of $429,392, according to the U.S. Department of Justice news release.
Ukwu's tax preparation practice, Ukwu's Income Tax Service, was located at 1925 Hilcrest Road in Baltimore and was started in 2006, according to Marcia Murphy, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Maryland.
While running the business, he was also employed full-time as a state correctional officer, Murphy said.
Ukwu was convicted of 12 counts of aiding in the filing of false tax returns in July, following a joint investigation by U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein and Special Agent in Charge Rick A. Raven of the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation, Washington, D.C. Field Office.
During tax years 2006, 2007 and 2008, Ukwu claimed fraudulent business losses of $139,819, $137,410 and $111,018 for three separate taxpayers. During tax years 2007 and 2008, he claimed fraudulent business losses of $115,552 for a fourth taxpayer. And in 2008, he claimed fraudulent business losses of $52,560 for a fifth taxpayer. Evidence during the five-day trial in July suggested that he falsely filed hundreds of additional tax returns, prosecutors argued, according to the release.
"Tax practitioners and return preparers have a duty to their clients to prepare tax returns that are accurate and comply with the law. It is our hope that today's sentence will send a strong message that tampering with the integrity of our nation's tax system can result in jail time," Raven stated in the release.