Topeka, Kan. – The founder of a tax preparation service with dealings in Kansas City and beyond is sentenced to 20 years in prison and ordered to forfeit $75 million.
A Federal District Court jury agreed with prosecutors, 55 year old Michael Craig Cooper of Topeka convinced customers that personal expenses, including commuting miles and children's allowances were deductible business expenses.
Cooper operated the firm known as Renaissance, The Tax People. Jim Cross of the U. S. Attorney's Office says those customers will have to make good to the Internal Revenue Service. In his words, "There were many hundreds or thousands of customers. They were all over the United States."
Cross says, what is remarkable is the sum forfeit on more than 70 counts of mail and wire fraud and money laundering for selling frivolous tax advice; $75 million is unusual.