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by: Anthony Parent 2015-09-26
On March 27, 2015, in the Central District of California, Richard Schultz plead guilty to obstructing and endeavoring to obstruct the administration of the Internal Revenue Code. Schultz was charged with the offense in February 2015.
According to the court documents, Schultz was an Enrolled Agent for Optima Tax Relief (Optima) in Santa Ana, California. As an Enrolled Agent, Schultz represented Optima’s clients before the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The IRS had placed levies on the accounts of a number of Optima’s clients in an effort to collect back taxes from them.
From approximately December 2012 to June 2013, Schultz corruptly endeavored to obstruct and impede the Internal Revenue Code by creating false levy releases for eight to ten Optima clients. In connection with his fraudulent activities, Schultz used valid levy releases previously issued by the IRS and altered them by whiting out the true taxpayer’s information and adding the new taxpayer’s information. Schultz then sent the falsified levy releases to the Optima clients and advised them that the releases were valid. As a result, the clients forwarded the false levy releases to their financial institutions, who in turn released the IRS levies on the applicable accounts. Schultz’s actions, creating and sending false IRS levy releases, impeded the IRS in the collection of outstanding tax liabilities from the Optima clients.
Schultz could face up to three years in prison for the offense. Sentencing is scheduled for June 19, 2015.
It was mentioned twice in the news snippet, but I want to repeat it - Richard Schultz was an Enrolled Agent licensed by the IRS. An enrolled agent is not an attorney, so they cannot be disbarred and the only regulatory body they answer to is the IRS itself (well, apparently the US DOJ too, as Mr. Schultz's case has demonstrated). An enrolled agent is someone who either passed a test administered by the IRS, or is an ex-IRS employee. Enrolled Agents can be a great resource; we even employ three here at IRSMedic (albeit not ones who commit levy scams for Optima Tax Relief)!
The sentence appears to be just two years' probation. Not sure what they plan on doing with his DNA.
Below is the text of the relevant portion of the Plea Agreement.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE CENTRAL DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
v. RICHARD SCHULTZ, Defendant.
PLEA AGREEMENT FOR DEFENDANT RICHARD SCHULTZ
... Defendant admits that defendant is, in fact, guilty of the offense to which defendant is agreeing to plead guilty. Defendant and the USAO agree to the statement of facts provided below and agree that this statement of facts is sufficient to support a plea of guilty to the charge described in this agreement and to establish ~ the Sentencing Guidelines factors set forth in paragraph ... below but is not meant to be a complete recitation of all facts relevant A to the underlying criminal conduct or all facts known to either party that relate to that conduct.
From in or around December 22, 2012 and continuing to June 13, 2013, defendant was an Enrolled Agent (“EA”) for Optima Tax Relief (“OTR”) in Santa Ana, California. As an EA, defendant represented OTR’s clients before the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”). ‘
Many of OTR’s clients had levies placed on their accounts by the IRS to collect back taxes from the OTR clients. Defendant corruptly endeavored to obstruct or impede the due administration of the internal revenue laws by creating false levy releases purporting to be from the IRS for OTR clients.
Specifically, defendant used old valid levy releases from the IRS, whited out the true tax payer information and added in the new taxpayer information. Defendant then sent the falsified levy releases to OTR clients and told them that the levy releases were valid. (emphasis added)
The OTR clients forwarded the false levy releases to their financial institutions, who then released the IRS levies on the accounts. Defendant created and sent the false IRS levy releases for at least 8 to 10 OTR clients. By creating and sending the false IRS levy‘ releases, defendant obstructed and impeded the IRS from collecting back taxes from the OTR clients.