Husband and wife get four years for tax fraud scheme

UNION COUNTY, NJ — A Union County certified public accountant who ran a tax-preparation business with his wife was sentenced Nov. 19 to four years in prison for his role in a multiyear tax-fraud scheme, in which he filed hundreds of false tax returns with the IRS to generate fraudulently inflated refunds for clients, some of which he took for himself, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.

Following a two-week trial before U.S. District Judge Anne E. Thompson in June, Courtney Johnson, 45, of Union was convicted of six counts of aiding and assisting in the preparation of false federal income tax returns. Thompson imposed the sentence in Trenton Federal Court. Johnson’s wife, Carol, 45, who ran the business with him, had previously pleaded guilty to misprision of a felony and was sentenced Nov. 5 to three years of probation.

The Johnsons operated tax-preparation businesses in South Orange and Jersey City, New Jersey. According to documents filed in this case and the evidence at trial. Courtney Johnson prepared and filed federal individual income tax returns that were materially false and fraudulent. The returns attached schedules for fictitious businesses that the taxpayers did not own or operate, inflated charitable contributions, fabricated itemized deductions — all to generate fraudulently inflated refunds.

The judge also sentenced Courtney Johnson to one year of supervised release, fined him $50,000 and ordered him to pay $10,280 in restitution. She ordered Carol Johnson to pay $93,385 in restitution.