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Former SK tax preparer charged with fraud

A former Port Orchard tax preparer who allegedly deliberately filed false information on clients’ tax returns for five consecutive years was charged last week with 82 counts of defrauding the Internal Revenue Service, according to an indictment filed Thursday in the U.S. District Court office in Tacoma.

The indictment claims Richard A. Peirce, while working as a tax preparer for Pat’s Accounting Inc. in Port Orchard, “devised a plan to defraud the Internal Revenue Service” by helping clients receive the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) by claiming children other than their own as dependents.

According to court documents, for tax returns prepared between 1997 and 2003, Peirce used the names and Social Security numbers of his own children and those of other clients to “willfully aid and assist” clients in both receiving larger refunds from the IRS than they were entitled to and in paying less income tax than was required.

As compensation, the indictment alleges, Peirce received a portion of the inflated refunds he obtained for clients, which often amounted to several thousand dollars.

The indictment charges Peirce with 34 counts of aiding and assisting the preparation of false income tax returns, which include nearly 20 instances in which a client received more than $3,000 of EITC when no amount was legally deserved.

The remaining counts charge Peirce with 48 instances of illegally using another person’s identification — specifically their names and Social Security numbers — on tax returns between April 2000 and April 2003.

Acting on a tip by a former employee, IRS special agents raided Pat’s Accounting on April 15, 2003, and seized piles of documents and five computer hard drives. Four months earlier, Peirce had pleaded guilty in Kitsap County Superior Court to identity theft and forgery.

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