Ottumwa Couple Convicted Of Tax Fraud

Judge office.

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(Des Moines, IA) -- An Ottumwa man and woman have been convicted of tax fraud, after investigators say they duped hundreds of immigrants and refugees. Investigators say Thein Maung & Phyo Mi ran a tax-preparation business out of their home and catered to meat-packing employees who spoke little-to-no English. Investigators say without their customers' knowledge or approval, they included false credits and deductions to increase refunds. hey did more than 16-hundred tax returns and claimed millions in residential energy credits. They also defrauded Iowa Workforce Development out of benefits payments.

Maung, pleaded guilty to 49 fraud and tax charges. A federal jury convicted Phyo Mi of 16 fraud charges.

Investigators say from 2018 to 2022, Maung and Mi received approximately over $200,000 in cash fees from their customers. In addition, on their customers’ returns, Maung and Mi sometimes directed portions of the fraudulent refunds be sent to financial institution accounts accessible to Maung and Mi. Maung and Mi also offered to help customers apply for unemployment benefits from Iowa Workforce Development. Without their customers’ knowledge or approval, Maung and Mi submitted materials to Iowa Workforce Development directing that their customers’ benefits payments be sent to financial institution accounts that Maung and Mi accessed.

Court documents state from October 2020 through March 2021, Maung and Mi directed nearly $100,000 in fraudulent unemployment insurance benefits payments be sent from Iowa Workforce Development to their accounts, instead of to the eligible claimants.

“This guilty verdict brings Phyo Mi and Thein Maung to justice. They created and implemented this massive energy credit and false deduction scheme to fund their greed at the

expense of trusting taxpayers,” said Special Agent in Charge Thomas F. Murdock of the IRS Criminal Investigation St. Louis Field Office. “This conviction should serve as notice that we will

vigorously prosecute those criminals who engage in any form of tax fraud.”

Maung and Mi will are scheduled to be sentenced September 27, 2023, in Des Moines.

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