California man accused of falsely claiming to be an IRS Enrolled Agent

A Fairfield, California man accused of falsely presenting himself as an IRS Enrolled Agent is facing 16 felony charges following a lengthy investigation by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.

Acting U.S. Attorney Lawrence G. Brown announced Friday that a federal grand jury returned a 17-count indictment against Keith Thayer Towns, 46. Towns, whose business Web site allegedly advertised that he was an enrolled IRS agent, faces 16 felony charges of making false statements to the IRS and a misdemeanor charge of misusing the name of the IRS.

The indictment contends that Towns, from March 2004 to March 2009, submitted power of attorney forms to the IRS in which he claimed to be an enrolled agent certified by the federal tax agency. The indictment also says that his Emerge Financial Group Web site made that false claim for more than five years.

"Paid preparers are a critical component and stakeholder in tax administration," J. Russell George, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, said in a prepared statement. "When preparers overstate their professional qualifications, it impacts taxpayers' faith in the tax system."

The maximum penalty for each false statement is five years in prison, a $250,000 fine and a three-year term of supervised release. For misuse of the IRS name, the maximum penalty is one year in prison, a $100,000 fine, and a one-year term of supervised release.

Before: Here is Towns's presentation as it appeared on the Emerge Financial Group Web site before the indictment:

After: Here is Towns's presentation as it appears now on the Emerge Financial Group Web site:

 

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