By Kevin Deutsch
According to the Department of Justice, a federal judge has permanently shut down two North Lauderdale tax return preparers for breaking the law, barring their business from preparing federal income tax returns or handling any tax return preparation in the future.
A civil complaint filed by DOJ alleged that Wendell Devallon and Berald Dominique prepared tax returns for customers that claimed fraudulent self-employment expenses, fictitious education credits, false fuel tax credits, and fake charitable contributions, among other schemes, prosecutors said.
The complaint also alleged Devallon and Dominique acted as “ghost” preparers, meaning they acted as paid tax return preparers but did not sign the returns, as required by law.
On Feb. 3, a federal court in the Southern District of Florida permanently enjoined the duo, co-owners of Tax Time Group Inc.—with locations at 995 Rock Island Rd. and 1675 S State Rd 7.—from tax prep work.
The court also ordered they give up $353,000 in business profits to the U.S. government, as well as an additional $142,000 for fraudulent return preparation activities pre-dating the complaint.
In a June 2021 order, the court found the co-owners in contempt for violating a preliminary injunction that restricted their tax preparation activities while their case was pending.
Devallon, Dominique, and Tax Time Group consented to the entry of the court’s contempt order and admitted that sufficient evidence existed to show that they had violated the preliminary injunction, according to prosecutors.
In August 2021, the court entered an order requiring the two to pay $211,000 in sanctions for their violations of the preliminary injunction.
“Yesterday’s permanent injunction, to which Devallon, Dominique, and Tax Time Group consented, forever bars them from any involvement in the preparation of federal tax returns,” prosecutors said in a Feb. 4 press release. “They must immediately close and cease all operations at any Tax Time Group office location.”
The permanent injunction requires Devallon and Dominique to give up their “Tax Time Group” brand ownership. If they sell the business, all proceeds will be applied to the $353,000 they must pay the government, prosecutors said.
If Devallon, Dominique, or Tax Time Group is found to have prepared another return, they must pay the United States $2,000 plus any fees they received for preparing the return.
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- Kevin Deutsch is an award-winning crime journalist and author. A graduate of Florida International University, Kevin has worked on staff at The Miami Herald, New York Daily News, and The Palm Beach Post.