TRENTON –A Springfield Certified Public Accountant pleaded guilty Tuesday to preparing false tax returns for his clients, IRS officials said.
Timothy Schetelich, a resident of Union County, entered his plea in federal court before Judge Anne Thompson. Schetelich pleaded guilty to one count of preparing a false personal tax return for a client for the year 2004. Sentencing is scheduled for March 15, 2011.
“Tax practitioners and return preparers have a duty to their clients to prepare tax returns that comply with the law and are complete and accurate,” said Victor W. Lessoff, Special Agent in Charge, IRS-Criminal Investigation, Newark Field Office. “At the IRS, protecting taxpayer money is a matter we take extremely seriously.”
According to statements at his plea hearing and court documents, Schetelich owned and operated a commercial tax preparation business located in Springfield. Schetelich admitted that he prepared a false 2004 U.S. Individual Income Tax Return for his client by claiming they had legitimate Schedule C business expenses when in fact his client did not own a business.
Schetelich also admitted that he prepared false tax returns for other clients for the years 2004 and 2005. Schetelich aided and assisted in the preparation of other false tax returns by fabricating and inflating deductions for business expenses on Schedule C of his clients’ returns in order to obtain larger refunds for his clients to which they were not entitled to receive. Schetelich fabricated and inflated various expenses on his clients Schedule C including meals and entertainment, office and mileage expenses.
The charge of aiding and assisting in the preparation of a false tax return carries a statutory maximum prison sentence of three years and a statutory maximum fine equal to the greater of: (1) $250,000; (2) twice the gross amount of any pecuniary gain that any persons derived from the offense; or (3) twice the gross amount of any pecuniary loss sustained by any victims of the offense.
The investigation was conducted by IRS-Criminal Investigation, Newark Field Office, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Victor W. Lessoff and The United States Attorney’s Office, under the direction of United States Attorney Paul J. Fishman.
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