Former Grover Beach tax preparer arraigned on charges of conspiring to file false tax returns

A former tax preparer who had operated a Grover Beach business was arraigned recently on federal criminal charges of conspiring to file false claims for tax refunds with the Internal Revenue Service, and aiding and abetting.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in San Diego, Neil A. Thomsen, 63, and three other people used the names and Social Security numbers of several of Thomsen’s former clients and clients of his former employers to file false tax returns in 2010.

Along with Thomsen, Sean K. McNaughton, 52; Louie Torres Arias, 46; and Keith E. Smith, 50; were arraigned June 6, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

A federal indictment alleges they traveled to Arizona, Nevada and Texas, entered various tax preparation businesses and impersonated taxpayers using fake temporary California driver’s licenses, false Social Security cards and fraudulent tax forms.

They filed numerous false tax returns with the IRS, and could have received more than $560,000, according to the indictment.

Thomsen is in custody on charges that he carries out a similar scheme in 2009. Last July, he was arraigned in U.S. district court in San Diego on 34 counts of filing false claims for tax refunds with the IRS, Social Security fraud, passport card fraud and aggravated identify theft.

He had been doing business as Exact Tax, which closed and left the county more than four years ago.

Arroyo Grande police issued a crime alert more than a year ago after an Arroyo Grande resident learned that fraudulent amended tax returns had been filed in his name in 2006 and 2007.

Arroyo Grande detectives found that amended tax returns, as well as a request for a refund and a change of address, had been filed without the resident’s knowledge.