(Des Moines, Iowa) United States District Court Judge Rebecca Goodgame Ebinger has sentenced Lony Tap Gatwas, 48, of Ames, Iowa, to 21 months in prison for wire fraud and tax fraud, and 24 months for aggravated identity theft, to be served consecutively to one another, for a total of 45 months, announced United States Attorney Marc Krickbaum.
Forty-eight-year-old Lony Tap Gatwas has also been ordered to pay more than 130-thousand dollars in restitution to the IRS.
A jury found Gatwas guilty of four counts of wire fraud, seven counts of identity theft, and seven counts of tax fraud.
During trial, the government presented evidence that Gatwas placed his own children, as well as other children, on his clients’ personal income tax returns as dependents, when these children had no relationship to the taxpayers, did not live with the taxpayers, and the taxpayers provided no financial support for the children.
Gatwas inflated his clients’ refunds by thousands of dollars by placing false dependents on his clients’ tax returns. Clients’ testimony established Gatwas charged them from $1,000 to $2,000 for each false dependent he put on their return.
When his clients were audited, Gatwas instructed some clients to lie to IRS Revenue Agents about their relationship with the false dependents. The IRS – Criminal Investigation conducted the investigation.