Tax preparer facing federal fraud, identity theft charges

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A tax preparer is facing federal charges after he allegedly filed fraudulent tax returns without the knowledge of his clients in Duval and St. Johns counties between 2008 and 2011.

Thomas Bandzul is facing one count of aggravated identity theft, two counts of filing a false tax return, 13 counts of wire fraud and 19 counts of assisting in preparing a false tax return, according to a release from the office of U.S. Attorney A. Lee Bentley III.

According to the release, Bandzul faces up to 20 years in prison for each wire fraud count. He was released Tuesday on a $25,000 bond.

Bandzul's alleged scheme involved him providing one tax return to his clients while actually filing a different one electronically with the IRS without his client's knowledge, thereby increasing his tax preparer compensation.

He allegedly got more than $100,000 in running this scheme from 2008 to 2011. He also claimed just $14,945 in income in 2008 when he was actually paid $208,967 in fees. In 2009, Bandzul claimed $9,536 when he was actually paid $335,452 in fees, the release detailed.

According to the indictment, Bandzul also used a client's Social Security Number to file a fraudulent tax return and commit wire fraud.


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