Second Income Tax Preparer Jailed in State Tax Scheme
RALEIGH – The former owner of the H&R Block in Chadbourn
pleaded guilty today in Wake County District Court to felony charges
filed by the North Carolina Department of Revenue.
Joseph T. Cholette, Jr., 33, of 101 Breeland Court, Wilmington, pleaded
guilty to four counts of aiding or assisting in the preparation of
false North Carolina individual income tax returns and four counts
The state’s evidence showed that Cholette and his former office
manager, Timothy Rivenbark, concocted a plan to defraud the federal
and state governments. They prepared individual income tax returns
for clients and informed them how much their refunds would be. Without
the clients’ knowledge, they added false business losses to
the returns to increase the amount of the refunds. The returns were
electronically filed and the refunds were mailed to the address listed
on the returns – post office boxes controlled by Cholette or
Rivenbark. Cholette would then forge his client’s names on the
refund check and deposit them into the H&R Block account. Next,
he would write the client a check for the original amount they were
expecting and split the difference with Rivenbark. The state’s
investigation identified 26 fraudulent returns totaling $19,155 resulting
from this scheme.
Wake County District Court Judge Robert Rader sentenced Cholette
to four, consecutive six-month minimum, eight-month maximum prison
terms. The sentences were suspended and he was placed on supervised
probation for 60 months. He was ordered to serve a 30-day active sentence
as a special condition of probation. He must also perform 50 hours
of community service, pay a $500 criminal fine and $9,577 in restitution
to the North Carolina Department of Revenue.
On March 4, 2004, Cholette’s co-defendant, Timothy Rivenbark
pleaded guilty to three
counts of aiding or assisting in the preparation of false North Carolina
individual income tax returns and three counts of attempting to obtain
property by false pretenses. He was sentenced to three, consecutive
eight-month minimum, 10-month maximum prison terms. The sentences
were suspended and he was placed on supervised probation for 36 months.
He was ordered to serve a 20-day active sentence as a special condition
of probation. He must also pay a $1,500 criminal fine and $9,577 in
restitution to the North Carolina Department of Revenue.
The charges against Cholette and Rivenbark resulted from an investigation
by the North Carolina Department of Revenue’s Criminal Investigations
Division. H&R Block fully cooperated in this investigation and
has closed the Chadbourn Office.
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P.O. Box 25000, Raleigh, NC 27640-0001
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Last modified on:
10/31/07 03:43:49 PM