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Iowa tax preparer sent to prison and ordered to pay $115,000 in restitution

This news story was published on June 14, 2016.
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gavel-justiceDAVENPORT, IA – On June 8, 2016, Gregory Scott Alcala, 44, of Davenport, Iowa, was sentenced by Senior United States District Court Judge James E. Gritzner to 33 months in federal prison for each count of preparing and presenting a false tax return, wire fraud, and making a bomb threat in and affecting interstate commerce, announced Acting United States Attorney Kevin E. VanderSchel. The sentences were ordered to be served concurrently, that is, at the same time. Alcala was ordered to serve three years of supervised release following his prison term, pay $300 to the Crime Victims’ Fund, and pay a total of $115,841.84 in restitution to 71 of his victims.

Alcala pled guilty to the crimes on February 24, 2016. According to the plea agreement, in about February 2010, Alcala began operating Alcala Tax Service in Davenport and prepared and filed federal tax returns on behalf of taxpayers. Beginning by at least February 18, 2012, and continuing to at least March 14, 2014, Alcala devised a scheme to defraud by filing altered tax returns. Specifically, Alcala prepared tax returns on behalf of taxpayers, provided a copy of the prepared return to the taxpayers, and then represented to the taxpayers that Alcala had filed that return with the Internal Revenue Service on the taxpayer’s behalf. In reality, Alcala did not file that version but instead—without the knowledge of and authority from the taxpayer—materially altered the taxpayer’s return to create a larger tax refund than the one reflected in the copy of the return Alcala had provided to the taxpayer. Alcala then filed the unauthorized version of the taxpayer’s return and—without the knowledge of and authority from the taxpayer—directed the additional refund amount to Alcala’s own bank account. During tax years 2009 through 2014, Alcala prepared at least 164 tax returns that included false or fraudulent information and directed at least a portion of 159 of those tax refunds to his own bank account without the knowledge of or authority from the taxpayer.

Additionally, on December 26, 2013, a switchboard operator for Badger Mutual Insurance, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, received a telephone call from Alcala in Davenport. During the call, Alcala threatened the operator by stating he was going to send her a bomb. Alcala knew his communication to the operator would be viewed as threatening.

This matter was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The case was prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Iowa.

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