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Hawaii Couple Indicted in Tax Fraud Scheme


A federal grand jury in Honolulu, Hawaii, returned an indictment on May 13 charging a Hawaii husband and wife with conspiring to defraud the United States and filing a false tax return. The husband was also charged with five counts of money laundering.

The indictment charges that from 2015 to 2021, Michael Chock and Brigida Chock of Ewa Beach, Hawaii, along with an unnamed co-conspirator, prepared and filed a Form 1099-MISC reporting bogus tax withholdings, as well as a false 2014 amended individual income tax return that requested a refund of $225,327, based on those fraudulent withholdings. After receiving the false return, the IRS allegedly issued a refund to the Chocks. Later, when the IRS initiated collection activity, the Chocks allegedly took steps to prevent the IRS from retrieving the fraudulently obtained refund. The indictment further alleges that Michael Chock laundered the fraudulently obtained refund through a series of financial transactions using banks located in the District of Hawaii.

The defendants were arraigned today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Kenneth J. Mansfield of the U.S. District Court for Hawaii.

If convicted, Michael Chock faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison for each count of money laundering. The Chocks each face a maximum sentence of three years for filing a false tax return and a maximum sentence of five years for conspiracy to defraud the United States. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stuart M. Goldberg of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and Acting U.S. Attorney Judith A. Philips for the District of Hawaii made the announcement.

The IRS-Criminal Investigation is investigating the case.

Trial Attorneys Sarah A. Kiewlicz and Valerie G. Preiss of the Tax Division and Assistant U.S. Attorney Gregg Paris Yates of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Hawaii are prosecuting the case.

An indictment is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Official news published at https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/hawaii-couple-indicted-tax-fraud-scheme

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