Missouri Insurance Agent Sentenced in Tax Scheme

August 19, 2005

A former Missouri tax preparer and insurance agent was sentenced in federal court for his role in a scheme that involved phony tax shelters.

Donald Hicks, 72, was sentenced to five years of probation by U.S. District Judge Fernando Gaitan, according to a news release issued Thursday by Todd Graves, U.S. Attorney for Missouri’s Western District. The court deferred restitution to the Internal Revenue Service for calculation and collection.

Hicks pleaded guilty April 22 to a charge contained in an October 2004 federal indictment. He admitted to preparing 372 false tax returns fraudulently claiming entitlement to the disabled tax credit. The tax loss associated with the fraudulent returns, prepared between 2000 and 2002, totaled $1.29 million, according to Graves.

The conviction was part of a national scheme being investigated and prosecuted by the U.S. Department of Justice involving an Internet shopping site, called ShopN2000. The site was purportedly modified to allow the blind to shop online, which Hicks and other conspirators told their customers made them eligible to claim the Disabled Access Credit and a business deduction. Hicks promoted ShopN2000 in conjunction with Oryan Management and Financial Services, an Upland, Calif., company.

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