Two Southwest Ohio tax return executives have been indicted by a federal grand jury for conspiracy and tax-related crimes, the U.S. Justice Department’s Tax Division announced Wednesday.
Fesum “Fez” Ogbazion of Beavercreek and Kyle Wade, formerly of West Chester, were both indicted on one count of impeding the administration of the Internal Revenue Code, one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and five counts of wire fraud.
The 23-count indictment also charges Ogbazion with six counts of money laundering, one count of evasion of payment of employment taxes, eight counts of failure to collect and pay over employment taxes and one count of bank fraud.
The indictment alleged that Ogbazion owned and controlled ITS Financial LLC, the national franchiser of Instant Tax Service (ITS), a tax preparation business Ogbazion founded that claimed to have more than 1,100 franchise locations in 2009. Wade was the vice president of financing for ITS and owned multiple ITS franchises.
The indictment alleges that from January 2004 through November 2012, Ogbazion and Wade executed a scheme to obstruct the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), wherein numerous ITS franchises filed false federal income tax returns without valid Forms W-2 and without the permission of their taxpayer clients.
In late 2013, U.S. District Judge Timothy Black entered a permanent injunction ordering Instant Tax Service to cease operation after a 2012 civil case. At that time, the court wrote, “Defendants’ harm to the public is extensive and egregious, indeed appalling … especially so given the nature of Instant Tax Service’s core customer — the working poor — who are particularly vulnerable to [the] defendants’ fraudulent practices.”
Ogbazion’s attorney in the civil suit, Todd Bryant, said Wednesday that the facts from that case are the same as the new prosecution. Bryant said that he’s not sure if he will be retained and declined to comment further.
If convicted, Ogbazion and Wade could face up to 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine for each count of the most serious charges.
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