Anchorage, Alaska – U.S. Attorney Bryan Schroder announced that Sanh Sunni Thampithak, a/k/a “Allysia” or “Ally”, 54, of Anchorage, was sentenced to one year and one day in federal prison, followed by one year of supervised release for Aiding and Advising False Income Tax Returns, while preparing fraudulent income tax returns on behalf of other individuals. Thampithak pleaded guilty to the charges in September 2020.
According to court documents, Thampithak had been filing fraudulent tax returns as an informal tax preparer, for tax years 2015-2017. Thampithak routinely misrepresented herself to her clients as a legitimate tax preparer. Thampithak did taxes for the Lao community and others in Anchorage, charging them $100-$300 per return, but would obtain unwarranted refunds for her clients by inflating certain Schedule A deductions and expenses. All tax return preparers who are paid to prepare or assist substantially in the preparation of any U.S. federal tax return, claim for refund or other tax form submitted to the IRS must have a PTIN. It is further alleged that Thampithak consistently fabricated the figures in order to generate refunds for her clients, and although she had a Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN), she failed to input her PTIN on her client’s returns. Thampithak filed at least 89 fraudulently prepared tax returns.
Thampithak became the subject of a federal investigation after her IP addresses were linked to questionable Form 1040’s that had been referred to IRS Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI). During the investigation, Thampithak knowingly prepared a fraudulent return for an IRS-CI undercover agent, and then lied to investigators to conceal the criminal conduct.
U.S. District Judge Sharon L. Gleason noted the need for general deterrence in the imposition of the 1 year and 1-day sentence. In addition to the term of imprisonment, Thampithak was ordered to complete 1 year of supervised release and pay restitution in the amount of $348,759.
The IRS Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) conducted the investigation leading to the successful prosecution in this case. This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Adam Alexander of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Alaska.
Return preparer fraud is one of the IRS’s Dirty Dozen Tax Scams and taxpayers seeking a return preparer should remain vigilant. The IRS has information on its website for choosing a tax preparer and has launched a free directory of federal tax preparers.