UNION, NJ – A Union resident and certified public accountant was sentenced Thursday to four years in prison for his role in a multi-year tax scheme in which he filed hundreds of false tax returns with the IRS to generate fraudulently inflated refunds for clients, some of which he took himself, according to U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman. 

Courtney Johnson, 45, was convicted of six counts of aiding and assisting in the preparation of false federal income tax returns.  Johnson’s wife, Carol Johnson, 45, who ran the business with him, previously pleaded guilty to misprision of a felony and was sentenced on November 5 to three years of probation.  The Johnsons operated tax preparation businesses in South Orange and Jersey City.

According to documents filed in the case and the evidence presented at trial, Johnson prepared and filed federal individual income tax returns that were materially false and fraudulent.  The returns attached schedules for fictitious businesses that the taxpayers did not own or operate, inflated charitable contributions, and fabricated itemized deductions, all to generate fraudulently inflated refunds.

Following a two-week trial before U.S. District Judge Anne E. Thompson in June, Johnson was also sentenced to one year of supervised release, fined $50,000 and ordered to pay $10,280 in restitution.  Judge Thompson ordered Carol Johnson to pay $93,385 in restitution.