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Published: Friday, 9/27/2013

U.S. indicts 2 in alleged $700,000 tax return scam


The managers of two Instant Tax Service offices in Toledo have been indicted in U.S. District Court on charges they ran a $700,000 tax refund scheme.

Adonay Mehreteab, 27, of Fort Wayne, Ind., and Miranda Parr, 32, of Heath, Ohio, in Licking County east of Columbus, each are charged with conspiracy, wire fraud, and making false, fictitious, or fraudulent claims to the Internal Revenue Service in 2011. Ms. Parr also is charged with aggravated identity theft.

According to the federal indictment, the pair prepared and submitted at least 114 false tax returns claiming refund amounts in excess of what the taxpayers were entitled to. The refunds totaled $700,974 with a loss to the government of $265,510.

Mr. Meherteab owned the Instant Tax Services offices on Monroe Street and Airport Highway, and he and Ms. Parr managed the offices.

“These defendants preyed upon clients who were in some cases desperate and in other cases not financially experienced,” said Steven M. Dettlebach, U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Ohio.

The pair allegedly offered “holiday loans” that required clients to provide personal financial information that they then used to file tax returns on behalf of the clients, sometimes without their knowledge. At times, prosecutors say, they prepared correct returns in the client’s presence but then added false items to the return later to increase the refund amount.

They also allegedly charged exorbitant fees for their services, which they deducted from the client’s refunds without disclosing that to clients before the return was filed.

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