Former Van Nuys H&R; Block Manager Pleads Guilty to Wire Fraud

March 14, 2013 1:39 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

A former H&R Block manager admitted in a federal court that he used clients’ information to submit false tax returns and pocket the money for himself. Damon C. Dubose, who is 36 years old, appeared in a federal court in Los Angeles on Tuesday to answer to charges of wire fraud and filing false claims. The North Hills native was working as the manager of an H&R Block storefront in Van Nuys and had used the identifying information of several people who had used the tax preparation service to create as many as 12 false tax returns. The scheme netted Dubose $48,000 in tax refunds, which he funneled into a prepaid debit card account through H&R Block, called the “Emerald Card.” Dubose then used the debit card to withdraw large amounts of cash from several automated teller machines.

A spokeswoman for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) said Dubose is facing up to 25 years in prison and a fine of $500,000. Dubose is scheduled to be sentenced later this year in July.

The federal government takes criminal activity involving taxes very, very seriously. In Dubose’s case, not only did he tamper with tax collection and refunds, but he also essentially stole nearly $50,000 from the federal government by fraudulently filing false tax returns. Wire fraud, which Dubose was also charged with, is a somewhat vague federal criminal charge that can accompany several other types of crime. Essentially, if any form of electronic communication was used to commit a crime, including anything using wires, telephones, television, the internet or radio, then wire fraud can be tacked onto the list of criminal charges. This is true of cases where the original fraud crime involved healthcare, insurance or even real estate issues. The use of electronic communication in any form can also make what would have been a local or state-level criminal issue into a federal criminal case. Under federal laws, charges of wire fraud could send you to a federal prison for 20 years. If the alleged wire fraud affects what is considered to be a financial institution, then a conviction could lead to 30 years in prison and up to $1,000,000 in fines. This would be in addition to any other crime you might have been convicted of, which in Dubose’s case was filing a false claim. Moreover, because wire fraud is considered a federal criminal offense, not just any attorney will be able to represent you in federal courts; your attorney must be licensed to practice law in federal courts as well.

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