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San Diego tax preparer sentenced in $5M money laundering scheme

FOX 5 San Diego
FOX 5 San Diego
 2022-12-06

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SAN DIEGO — A Chula Vista man was sentenced in federal court Monday to 30 months in prison for his role in an illegal operation of a $5 million money transmission business to evade domestic and foreign laws regarding money transfer and reporting, prosecutors said.

Jose Luis Gonzalez, 50, was found guilty for transmitting more than $5 million through an unregistered money transmission business and claiming more than $19 million in fraudulent tax deductions in connection with the scheme, Kelly Thornton with the Office of the United States Attorney Southern District of California stated in a release. He is also ordered to forfeit $5,052,037.

Court documents revealed that Gonzalez and others accepted, deposited and wire transferred cash throughout the U.S. About 95% of the funds were then transferred to Mexico-based bank accounts.

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“According to his plea agreement, Gonzalez prepared 12 false corporation income tax returns for 10 of the “shell” corporations. In total, Gonzalez created $19,615,192 in bogus deductions that nearly ‘zeroed’ out the corporations’ gross receipts. One egregious example was a fraudulent 2017 corporate income tax return that Gonzalez prepared for Jeva International, Inc. Per the income tax return Gonzalez prepared and filed with the IRS, Jeva reported gross receipts of $3,092,253 and listed a false deduction of $3,053,359 for legal and professional outside services,” Thornton said.

In 2019 during an Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation undercover operation, Gonzalez was recorded talking about how he was taking discrete steps to fraudulently reduce the undercover officer’s taxable income, officials said.

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