IRS: Santa Ana Income Tax Preparer to Plead Guilty to Fraud

Photo: George Hodan/publicdomainpictures

Income tax return preparer Karla Montano, who owns Trebols Income Tax preparation service in Santa Ana, has agreed to plead guilty to five counts of filing false income tax returns, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced today. The IRS estimates the tax loss incurred by Montano’s fraudulent returns at more than $700,000.

“In a plea agreement filed on Wednesday, Karla Montano, who also goes by Karla Cervantes Montano and Karla Esmeralda Montano, 31, agreed to plead guilty to five counts of aiding and assisting in the preparation of a false income tax return,” states an Aug. 14 news release from the IRS Criminal Investigation field office in Los Angeles. “Montano is expected to make her initial appearance in United States District Court on Monday, August 19, 2019.”

Between 2014 and 2016, the IRS says, Montano would prepare two sets of returns for some of her customers. The copy given to her customers was legit, but on the return she filed with the IRS she would “fraudulently claim deductions (like unreimbursed employee business expenses and charitable contributions), credits (like education credits and child tax credits), and exemptions (like dependents), that Montano knew her taxpayer-clients never approved of or qualified for,” according to the IRS news release.

The IRS says Montano was able to cash in on the fraudulent returns through the use of the payment management service Refund Advantage. “Specifically, Montano would direct the IRS to electronically deposit her taxpayer-clients’ inflated refunds into Refund Advantage bank accounts, and Montano would subsequently direct the transfer of payments from those accounts into her own personal bank accounts,” states the IRS news release. “The five counts to which Montano agreed to plead guilty allege fraudulent unreimbursed business expense deductions ranging from $38,260 to $47,769.”

Once she pleads guilty, Montano faces a maximum of 15 years in prison, and could also be ordered to pay nearly $440,000 in restitution.

 

Anthony Pignataro has been a journalist since 1996. He spent a dozen years as Editor of MauiTime, the last alt weekly in Hawaii. He also wrote three trashy novels about Maui, which were published by Event Horizon Press. But he got his start at OC Weekly, and returned to the paper in 2019 as a Staff Writer.

2 Replies to “IRS: Santa Ana Income Tax Preparer to Plead Guilty to Fraud”

  1. We went to Karla Montano for 2 years and after the second year we were audited by the IRS for the first year we went to her, claiming that we were missing the itemized deductions form for our tax return after we received this letter we went back and checked the paperwork she gave us and sure enough there was paperwork missing. We tried contacting her but she would not talk to us, we went to her Santa Ana office and the front desk said she was not in, but we spotted her coming in and out of a side door. We confronted her and asked her about the missing forms and the $20,000 in fraudulent claim deductions. She played very dumb and said no worries I will take care of it, all she did was get extensions from the IRS. This caused us to to be denied on a loan for a new house and us owing money to the IRS because of the deductions were so high and there was no proof from us. We filed a complaint with IRS last year when this first happened but We need to find out who is the prosecutor is so that we can report this to them, this woman really screwed us. It also happened to a friend of ours that we sent over to Karla Montano.

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