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June 5, 2017

Posted  June 5, 2017

An Ohio resident was convicted by a federal jury sitting in Cincinnati, Ohio of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, bank fraud, evasion of employment taxes and failure to pay over employment taxes, announced the Justice Department’s Tax Division. According to the evidence presented at trial, Fesum Ogbazion, 44, was the owner and CEO of ITS Financial LLC, which was the national franchisor of Instant Tax Service (ITS), a tax preparation business. Ogbazion founded ITS in 2004 and at one time it had more than 1,100 franchise locations throughout the United States. From approximately January 2009 through 2012, Ogbazion conspired with others at ITS to generate loan and tax return preparation fees for ITS and its franchises by luring taxpayers into ITS franchises through a fraudulent nationwide advertising campaign. The ITS ads offered tax refund anticipation loans through an independent third party lender, despite the fact that ITS did not have such a lender to fund the promised loans. The evidence introduced at trial established that Ogbazion used the false advertising campaigns to entice customers into coming to ITS locations for a loan and then used their loan applications to prepare and file income tax returns – often without customers’ authorization. ITS charged its customers between $500 to $800 in tax preparation fees. Between 2006 and 2011, ITS collected more than $70 million in fees. DOJ

Tagged in: Employment Tax Fraud, Tax Fraud,