Jury Convicts Hampton Return Preparer of Tax Fraud

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NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – A federal jury convicted a Hampton man today of aiding and assisting in the preparation of false tax returns, theft of government funds, and failing to file federal income tax returns.

According to court records and evidence presented at trial, from at least 2013 through 2019, Karl Burden-El Bey prepared false tax returns for clients. On his clients’ returns, Burden-El Bey claimed false dependents, residential energy credits, gifts to charity, deductions, and child and dependent care expenses in order to inflate refunds obtained from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Burden-El Bey also stole $5,000 by directing a portion of his client’s refunds into his personal bank account.  As to his own taxes, Burden-El Bey did not file individual tax returns for 2013 through 2017 with the IRS, despite being legally obligated to do so.

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“The evidence at trial demonstrated that the defendant’s criminal conduct in this case spanned several years and included assisting in the preparation of false tax returns, stealing government funds, and failing to file personal federal income tax returns even though he held a trusted position as a tax preparer,” said Raj Parekh, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “Our Office expresses its appreciation to the trial team, and we are grateful for the jury’s verdict, which holds the defendant accountable for betraying the public’s trust and unlawfully enriching himself through this multi-year fraud scheme.”

Burden-El Bey faces a statutory maximum sentence of ten years in prison for theft of government funds, three years in prison for each count of aiding and assisting in the preparation of a false tax return, and one year in prison for each count of failing to file a tax return when sentenced on December 7. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

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Raj Parekh, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; General Stuart M. Goldberg, Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney of the Department of Justice’s Tax Division; and Darrell J. Waldon, Acting Special Agent in Charge, Washington, D.C. Field Office, IRS-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), made the announcement after U.S. District Judge David J. Novak accepted the verdict.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Lisa McKeel and Brian Samuels and Trial Attorneys Grace Albinson and Francesca Bartolomey of the Tax Division are prosecuting the case.

A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information are located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 4:20-cr-17.

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