By Esteban Fernandez, Times West Virginian, Fairmont (TNS)
A Rivesville, WV, man has been indicted on charges of defrauding the IRS of at least $800,000.
Jack Lee Oliver, owner and operator of the Insurance Depot on Fairmont Avenue, used a foster child he never met to inflate his tax refund, according to court documents from the U.S. Justice Department.
Those charges were only three of 32 separate charges related to tax fraud, according to a grand jury indictment filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia. The remaining 29 counts charge that Oliver fraudulently inflated his clients’ tax refunds while deflating their tax responsibility at the same time.
“For tax years 2018 to 2020, the defendant Jack Lee Oliver fraudulently inflated his tax refund by claiming a foster child whose former foster parents were clients of the defendant Jack Lee Oliver,” the indictment states. “The defendant Jack Lee Oliver never served as a foster parent for the foster child, provided a residence for the foster child, paid expenses for the foster child, or even met the foster child.”
Oliver is 55 and hails from Rivesville.
The Earned Income Tax Credit is singled out in the indictment, appearing to indicate it was the instrument of choice Oliver used to commit fraud.
For his other clients, Oliver claimed false business income or loss and total expenses when preparing the returns for tax years 2018 through 2020. The dates of the offenses range from 2018 through 2021.
According to a press release from Stacy Bishop, public affairs specialist for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Northern District of West Virginia, the fraudulent tax returns Oliver filed resulted in $800,000 in overpayments from the IRS.
A trip to the Insurance Depot revealed a closed office on Wednesday. My Happy Place, an art studio, gallery and boutique located in the same building as the Insurance Depot and bearing Oliver’s name as broker on the storefront window, was also closed. The doorbell on an adjoining door was not answered as well. A call to the phone number on the business’s sign did not yield a response either. The federal filings do not list a defense attorney yet for Oliver.
U.S. Attorney Sarah Wagner will prosecute the case on behalf of the U.S. Government. The IRS investigated the case.
Oliver faces up to three years in federal prison for each count, if convicted.
Oliver is set to appear in U.S. District Court for the first time on Jan. 4 at 3:30 p.m. at the federal building in Clarksburg.
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