Customers at Mo’ Money Taxes in East Nashville were enticed with promises of getting the most out of their tax returns. The company’s website even features an ad that ensures $1,800 in 30 seconds. But the company’s owners — and the individuals who used the service — could be in deep trouble.
The Internal Revenue Service cracked down on the company earlier this year, and federal prosecutors have asked a judge for an injunction against Mo’ Money employees Tony Fields and Trumekia Shaw to prevent them from operating this upcoming tax season.
The court filings also say that Mo’ Money customers “now face large income tax deficiencies and may be liable for sizeable penalties and interests.”
According to court documents, Fields and Shaw falsified customers’ tax returns and deprived the U.S. government of approximately $5 million in 2011 alone. The IRS was alerted to the operation after they found that 100 percent of the 2,349 filings from Mo’ Money in 2010 and 2011 involved tax refunds.
A federal complaint alleges that Fields and Shaw get an improper jump on their competition by opening Mo’ Money Taxes in Nashville in late December before the tax year ends.
The defendants allegedly use customers’ end-of-year pay stubs to prepare tax returns instead of the IRS-issued W-2 wage-statement forms, which is a violation of IRS rules. According to the U.S. Attorney's Office in Nashville, Fields and Shaw allegedly use the pay stubs to create fake W-2 Forms to include with the returns.
Prosecutors say that Fields and Shaw fabricated information ranging from phony dependents to exorbitant charitable donations that never happened. Mo’ Money also utilized fabrications to place low-income workers into a “sweet spot” that gave them the maximum Earned Income Tax Credit benefit.
The permanent injunction suit against Fields and Shaw also asks that they turn over a list of all their customers.
According to the Commercial Appeal, U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen, of Memphis, called for a federal investigation of Mo’ Money in February. Mo’ Money’s main office in Memphis was raided earlier this year.
Mo’ Money co-founder Markey Granberry was unavailable for comment on Tuesday afternoon.