Crime

Tax preparers owe $1.9 million, get prison for false returns

Allen Brice
Allen Brice

Preparing false tax returns for clients will cost the owner of a Gulfport business and his employee nearly $2 million, as well as time in a federal prison.

Jeremi Washington, owner of Flash Financial on Dedeaux Road, and Allen Brice Jr. were sentenced in federal court Thursday from an indictment unsealed in February 2016.

Chief U.S. District Judge Louis Guirola Jr. ordered a 63-month prison term for Brice, convicted on seven counts of fraud in January. Documents submitted as evidence at trial included an undercover officer’s tax form and recorded conversations.

Guirola ordered Brice, 35, to make restitution of $1,919,820.20 to the Internal Revenue Service.

The judge sentenced Washington to 46 months in prison and ordered him to repay $1,954,252.

I would readily change places with my son if I could because he has given his life to helping others.

Christene Brice, mother of Allen Brice Jr.

Washington, 35, also underreported his income for 2009 by $243,906 and failed to file his taxes for 2010 and 2011, an indictment said. Washington pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge in December.

The conspiracy started in 2009, Acting U.S. Attorney Harold Brittain said in a news release.

Both men filed returns for clients whom they knew did not qualify for certain deductions. The unqualified deductions were for self-employment retirement plans, education credits and fraudulent profit and loss statements, a court document said.

Guirola also ordered three years of post-release supervision for Brice and one year for Washington.

Brice had been a volunteer court-appointed advocate for neglected and abused children in Harrison County. He also was an assistant Sunday school teacher and helped families, the homeless and others in the community, said his mother, Christene Brice, who is the Harrison County District 4 election commissioner. A group of friends prayed with her for leniency before his sentencing.

Everyone knows (Allen), admires him for his genuine concern, compassion and his actual assistance to those in need. He has been a good person, when one removes the tax matter from the equation.

Michael Crosby, attorney

“I have a broken heart,” Christene Brice said. “My son has always been the ideal child, the kind of son any mother would want to have. I love my son. I’m proud of my son. I would readily change places with my son if I could because he has given his life to helping others.”

Allen Brice has contributed to the community in many ways, attorney Michael Crosby wrote in a court filing.

“Everyone knows him, admires him for his genuine concern, compassion and his actual assistance to those in need,” Crosby wrote.

“He has been a good person, when one removes the tax matter from the equation.”

Robin Fitzgerald: 228-896-2307, @robincrimenews

  Comments