Former Orange County Income Tax Return Preparer Sentenced to 21 Months in Federal Prison for Filing Fraudulent Returns

LOS ANGELES – An Orange County man who prepared tax returns for clients after falsely claiming to be a certified public accountant and a former IRS agent was sentenced this morning to serve 21 months in federal prison for preparing and filing fraudulent federal income tax returns.

Michael Raymond Martinez, 48, of Fullerton, was sentenced by United States District Judge Beverly Reid O’Connell. In addition to the prison term, Judge O’Connell ordered Martinez to pay $205,465 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service.

Martinez – who operated his tax preparation business under the names Your Home Tax Service, Great Tax Services and Great Tax Solutions – pleaded guilty in February to one count of aiding and abetting in the preparation of a false income tax return. In marketing materials provided to clients and potential clients, Martinez claimed he could get them “The Largest Refund…Guaranteed!!!”

Martinez, who often met with clients at their homes or at public locations, admitted that he prepared and filed with the IRS at least 245 false federal income tax returns that resulted in tax losses to the United States of approximately $1,155,006.

According to a plea agreement filed in this case, from the beginning of 2009 through April 2015, Martinez had brief meetings with clients to obtain their documents and to receive his payment. Martinez typically prepared and electronically filed the tax returns, but he would not review the returns with his clients.

According to documents filed with the court, Martinez prepared and filed tax returns that claimed false deductions and expenses that his clients were not entitled to receive. The tax returns included fraudulent moving expenses, education expenses and itemized deductions. The fraudulent deductions and expenses lowered the taxpayers’ income tax liability.

In addition to the 245 fraudulent tax returns filed for clients, Martinez failed to report his own taxable income from his tax preparation business for the years 2011 and 2012, which caused a loss to the government of approximately $85,000.

This case is the product of an investigation by IRS Criminal Investigation.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Paul Rochmes and Benjamin Tompkins of the Tax Division.

Component(s):
USAO – California, Central

Press Release Number:
17-131

Legal Community Loses Two Legal Lions

This past week the criminal defense legal community lost two legends: Lynne F. Stewart and William J. Genego.

Lynne F. Stewart, a former teacher in Harlem,  mother of seven and librarian, described by Democracy Now! as a “people’s lawyer who represented the poor and revolutionaries. Many considered her a political prisoner herself when she was given a 10-year sentence for distributing press releases on behalf of one of her clients, Omar Abdel-Rahman, an Egyptian cleric known as the “blind Sheikh.” “I was never happier than walking into court,” she said.

Attorney Leonard Weinglass said Stewart’s sentence would “mark this era as the era of the war on terrorists, which includes the war on lawyers who defend those who are accused of terrorism. To put her behind bars when no one was injured, no one was harmed, when those who produced the torture memos, those who produced the war are going free and even prospering is really the irony of our time.”


Attorney William J. Genego was described by the LA Times as a prominent trial and appellate attorney who successfully fought to overturn the wrongful murder convictions of at least five people serving life sentences.  His former law partner said, “He liked to represent the underdog and righting a wrong.”  Another lawyer and friend, said, “He had an indefatigable passion for justice for the disenfranchised…He wanted to be there for people who had nobody.”  U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Stephen Reinhardt said Attorney Genego was “a model of what a lawyer should be: a really good person.”