(STL.News) – U.S. District Judge Sheri Polster Chappell today sentenced Ancelot Similien to 22 months in federal prison for preparing and filing false federal income tax returns. The court ordered Similien to pay $103,393 to the IRS in restitution. Similien had pleaded guilty on March 5, 2020.
According to court documents and information presented at the sentencing hearing, Similien was the owner and operator of D’Lux Tax Inc. (“DTI”), a tax preparation business located in Naples, Florida. For the tax years 2013 through 2016, Similien prepared and filed false and fraudulent Forms 1040 (Individual U.S. Income Tax Returns) for his clients. The tax returns contained material falsities, including false Schedule C business losses and false Schedule A itemized deductions. As a result, Similien caused larger income tax refunds to be issued to his clients than what they were entitled.
Similien continued to prepare and file false returns, even after suspension of his Electronic Filing Identification Number (EFIN), by using an EFIN assigned to another individual. Similien prepared a double set of returns, one for the IRS, and one for his clients that did not show the false items reported on the returns filed with the IRS. Similien “skimmed” some of the refunds issued to the taxpayers by retaining portions of the fraudulent refunds for his own personal use, in addition to charging the taxpayers tax return preparation fees.
“As most Americans are aware, the tax filing season was extended due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but that doesn’t mean crime takes a break or that the wheels of justice stop,” stated Special Agent in Charge Brian Payne of IRS Criminal Investigation. “The sentencing today of Mr. Similien should send a warning to fraudulent return preparers to beware that we are still watching. Moreover, taxpayers must practice due diligence in selecting a reputable and qualified tax return preparer.”
This case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jeffrey F. Michelland.