Toledo tax service managers charged in $700k tax fraud scheme

Federal charges have been brought upon managers of two Toledo tax service offices as a result of a $700,000 tax refund scheme.

According to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Ohio, Adonay Mehreteab, 27, of Fort Wayne, Indiana and Miranda Parr, 32, of Heath, Ohio, are charged with conspiracy, wire fraud, and making false, fictitious, or fraudulent claims to the Internal Revenue Service for the tax year 2011.

Parr is also charged with aggravated identity theft.

Investigators say the pair implemented their "payday Loan" tax refund scheme using clients of two Instant Tax Service offices, located on Monroe St. and Airport Highway in Toledo.

The DOJ says the conspiracy began when the pair advertised "$1,000 holiday loans" to potential clients in 2011. However, most loans were between $50 and $100. When applying for loans at the offices, clients were asked to provide their name, Social Security number, address, paystub, and the names of dependents and their Social Security numbers.

The indictment alleges Mehreteab and Parr then used the provided personal information to file 2011 individual income tax returns on behalf of their clients, without their knowledge.

Mehreteab and Parr are said to have prepared and submitted tax returns claiming refund amounts in excess of what the taxpayers were entitled to. Their conspiracy resulted in at least 114 false, fictitious and fraudulent claims to be filed, causing a total refund of $700,974 and a loss to the government of $265,510, according to the indictment.

"These defendants preyed upon clients who were in some cases desperate and in other cases not financially experienced," said Steven Dettelbach, US Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio. "We will continue to work with the IRS to prosecute those who would abuse tax laws."

The case remains under investigation by the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation of Toledo.