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NEW: Providence Business Owner Pleads Guilty to Tax Evasion

Wednesday, February 13, 2013


Michael Brier admitted this week that he under-reported $1.1 million of income and violated a federal court order.

A Providence business owner has pled guilty to underreporting over a million dollars in income and violating a federal court order that had permanently barred him to preparing tax returns for others.

According to United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha and William P. Offord, Special Agent in Charge of the Boston office of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Criminal Investigation. Michael Brier, owner of the tax preparation firm Refunds Now Inc., which is based in the capital city, pleaded guilty Monday to one count of criminal contempt and one count of tax evasion return.

Brier had been issued a preliminary injunction by the court in November 2010 after an investigation revealed that “at least 300 tax returns prepared by Brier and Refunds Now” understated his customers’ tax liabilities and that Brier and his employees had “fabricated tax deductions and credits on the returns.”

From 2003-2007, Brier and his employees had prepared an estimated 24,000 federal income tax returns and an IRS examination of 350 of those returns revealed that “92 percent of them required adjustments,” Neronha said in a release.

All told, the adjustments had cost the government more than $1.1 million in tax revenue and, on March 7, 2011, Brier and his employees were barred to preparing returns.

Less than a month later, Neronha said, the IRS Criminal Investigation unit searched Brier’s business and found returns filed after the date of the injunction and reportedly seized payments and records proving Brier had continued the services after that date as well.

According to Neronha, Brier admitted to the court that he underreported taxable income to the IRS between 2004 and 2009 totaling $1,152,679, and that he underpaid $399, 424 in taxes to the IRS.

He is scheduled to be sentenced on May 10, 2013.


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