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October 3, 2011

Atwater tax preparer convicted of fraud in federal court

An Atwater tax preparer was convicted in federal court Monday of fraud, the U.S. Attorney’s office in Fresno said. Michael S. Ioane, 50, of Atwater, faces up to 25 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for each of the four counts of presenting fake documents to the Internal Revenue Service.

FRESNO -- An Atwater tax preparer was convicted in federal court Monday of fraud, the U.S. Attorney’s office in Fresno said.

Michael S. Ioane, 50, of Atwater, faces up to 25 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for each of the four counts of presenting fake documents to the Internal Revenue Service.

Ioane, operating under the name Acacia Corporate Management and First Amendment Publishers between 1999 and 2009, promoted sham trusts that claimed to shield assets from the IRS.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office says Ioane created the trusts with various trustees and then transferred the property to Vincent Steven Booth, of Bakersfield. Ioane also caused bogus liabilities to be filed against Booth’s properties to create the appearance of no equity. Ioane presented the IRS with fake bills of exchange that claimed to extinguish all of Booth’s tax debt. He also created fake deed transfers of Booth’s properties to keep it out of the reach of the IRS. The actions allowed him to evade more than $1.3 million in back taxes, according to the U.S. Attorney.

Booth pleaded guilty to the conspiracy on July 20, 2010. As part of the plea, Booth is working to pay the back taxes. He is scheduled for sentencing on Nov. 10.

Ioane is scheduled to be sentenced by United States District Judge Lawrence J. O'Neill on Dec. 16.

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