Michigan tax preparer, Mark Alan Patterson has been charged with wire fraud. Patterson worked for Shuster Tax Service as a tax return preparer from 2015 until February 2020, when the fraud was discovered.
He is accused of stealing a portion of his clients’ tax refunds by directing portions of refunds into accounts that he controlled. Patterson hid his crime by giving his clients unfiled versions of returns that showed they were owed a smaller refund amount than what they were actually due.
Jennifer Shuster Semer, the owner of Shuster Tax service, discovered the fraud and alerted law enforcement. In a review of returns filed by Patterson, Shuster discovered approximately 120 client tax returns dating back to 2015 that had refunds electronically diverted into accounts controlled by Patterson. Semer calculated an approximate loss to her clients of over $400,000.
Patterson faces up to 20 years in federal prison.