Photo Credits: WTXL ABC 27
Florida - The head of First Calvary Family Life Ministry in Tampa, Pastor Luckner Stimphil, used the church to run an illicit tax business with his daughter, Elwolfine Dufort.
Tax fraud cheats the government out of millions of dollars every year and is punishable by fines, penalties, interest, and/or prison time. Generally, an entity is not considered to be guilty of tax evasion unless the failure to pay is deemed intentional.
Fox 13 News reports: “A Bay Area pastor and his daughter pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to fraud the United States government stemming from their tax preparation business according to a plea agreement filed in federal court this week.”
According to the indictment, he and his daughter assisted people with filing their taxes. In exchange, they charged a 10 percent fee from their client’s tax returns. They were fraudulently claiming their clients qualified for certain tax credits and breaks they didn’t qualify for, inflating their total return amount, which meant more money in their pocket.
“It’s unfair that these people are coming in and filing fraudulent returns,” defense attorney Anthony Rickman said. “And getting credits that they are not eligible for. Ultimately, it hurts our economy. It hurts the government. The government is saying in this particular case — and in other cases — that we are not going to let these tax preparation services to defraud us.”
55-year-old Luckner Stimphil and 31-year-old Elwolfine Dufort started running their tax preparation business under the name "Top Popular Tax" back in June 2011. Around the same time, he also served as pastor at First Calvary Family Life Ministry in Tampa. Stimphil and Dufort face up to five years in prison for this tax fraud scheme. The church was listed as the address for their company, “Top Popular Tax.”
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