Westminster-based Tax Preparer Admits Part in Tax Scheme

federal income tax return IRS 1040 documents with pen, calculato

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SANTA ANA (CNS) - A Westminster-based tax preparer pleaded guilty Monday to operating a scheme to cheat the federal government out of about $3.8 million.

Anton Nguyen, 54, of Fountain Valley pleaded guilty to a count of conspiracy to defraud the federal government. A sentencing date was set for July 24.

Nguyen operated Century Travel & Tax in Westminster. From 2012 through June 10, 2019, he and co-conspirator John Tran and others, "filed hundreds of tax returns using personal identifying information belonging to other individuals, without these individuals' permission, generating at least $418,559 in tax refund payments from the United States," according to Nguyen's plea agreement.

The scheme also involved creating phony IRS forms reporting income for the years the refund requests were made, according to the plea agreement. The bogus forms also allowed the schemers to claim various deductions, according to the agreement.

Tran, who prosecutors said is 57 to 61 years old and also resides in Fountain Valley, worked for the Orange County Social Services Agency from July 1994 to October 2018, and stole Social Security numbers and other personally identifying information from his clients, many of whom had recently emigrated to the U.S., to further the scheme, prosecutors alleged.

Nguyen "also conspired and aided and abetted in a scheme to evade paying at least $3,354,723 in taxes due and owing to the U.S.," according to his plea agreement.

The two also conspired with Kevin Le, 57, of Anaheim Hills, Van Quach, 43, of Monterey Park, and Peter Duc Nguyen, 63, of Garden Grove, to prepare fraudulent tax returns "that resulted in a total tax loss to the United States of at least $3,354,723," according to Anton Nguyen's plea agreement.

Part of the scheme involved  creating corporate entities to report expenses to reduce tax income, prosecutors said.

"For his part, (Anton Nguyen) was paid amount equal to approximately 10% of the value of the fabricated Forms 1099-Misc.," according to his plea agreement. "For example, on or about May 2, 2017, defendant received two checks from Kevin Le totaling $26,000 as payment for the fraudulent Forms 1099- Misc."

According to the plea agreement, "In total, defendant and his co- conspirators defrauded the United States in the amount of at least $3,773,282."

Thomas Nguyen pleaded guilty in June 2021 and was fined $30,000 and ordered to pay $133,796 in restitution, prosecutors said. Other co-conspirators Chau Nguyen, 69, of Garden Grove, Sophie Thuy Nguyen, 48, of Westminster, Le, Quach and Duc Nguyen have pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing.

Rosemary Pham, 65, of Midway City, who owns Victory Tax Service in Westminster, has pleaded not guilty and is awaiting trial.

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