A Scottsdale woman must pay over $2 million in restitution after admitting she participated in a scheme to file fraudulent tax returns and defraud the federal government.
Jana Meincke pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to violate federal law for filing fraudulent tax returns on behalf of clients between April 2013 and September 2017 through a dozen different entities, including Scottsdale-based businesses Scottsdale Tax Solutions, 1st Choice Tax Solutions, Just Tax Services, Assurance Concierge Inc. and JLM Agency.
As part of a plea deal with federal prosecutors, Meincke was sentenced to 21 months in prison and must pay $2,211,304 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service.
Meincke also agreed to cooperate with federal investigators as part of the deal.
According to court filings, Meincke participated in a scheme to create fake entities for tax clients. Those fake entities were then used to declare fraudulent expenses, deductions and losses in order to reduce the clients’ taxable income.
“This was an egregious scheme involving the creation of fictitious businesses and the fabrication of deductions to obtain fraudulent tax refunds from the United States Treasury,” said IRS-Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge Ismael Nevarez Jr. “Investigating the filing of fraudulent tax returns continues to be one of IRS-CI’s top priorities.”
According to records on file with the Arizona Corporation Commission and Arizona Secretary of State’s Office, Meincke owned a handful of the entities involved in the fraud.
Other entities were owned by individuals not mentioned in the criminal filings.
A cross reference of those state business registrations and county property records showed some businesses were registered to a north Scottsdale apartment unit, a UPS store and a condo in southern Scottsdale.
A co-conspirator, Thomas Rampetsreiter of Scottsdale, was sentenced to 24 months in prison in August 2020 for his role in the fraud.
The scheme resulted in some clients receiving large tax refunds they were not entitled to, according to the IRS.
Meincke and others earned commissions based on how much money they saved clients on their tax burden.
According to the Rampetsreiter indictment, the conspirators filed hundreds of fraudulent returns and took between 20 and 30 percent of the fraudulent refunds generated by the scheme.
That indictment referenced 75 falsified filings that were used to cancel out “substantial” tax liabilities and seek refunds ranging from $768 to $19,516 each.
The Rampetsreiter indictment suggests the unnamed clients were not participants in the scheme.
The indictment states that Rampetsreiter, Meincke and others “deceived” and justified their high fees by lying about their experience and expertise, even falsely claiming to be certified public accounts or ex-IRS employees.
They claimed their methods were simply “secret” approaches that were only known by the “richest one percent” of taxpayers.
“The conspirators took advantage of taxpayers who were unsophisticated in tax matters, and these taxpayers were mostly unaware of the illegal nature, use or scope of the fabricated entities and false expenses the conspirators put on their tax returns,” indictment stated.