The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has announced that Chander Mohan Sharma, an Alberta resident working as a tax preparer, has been sentenced to six years in jail. On top of the court-imposed prison term, he is also required to pay restitution amounting to $290,373 for his clients.
In a decision issued on August 31, 2017, the Provincial Court of Alberta found Sharma guilty of defrauding the Government of Canada of income tax revenue in an amount over $5,000. The charge, however, grossly understates the extent and impact of the scheme that he actually perpetrated.
Through a complex investigation, the CRA found that he had filed false business losses and employment expenses on his clients’ income tax returns for the years 2008, 2009, and 2010, amounting to over $2.9 million. His clients were unaware of his actions, as he had misrepresented that he had gone back 10 years on their returns to dig up refunds that had been overlooked in the past.
According to the CRA, the false returns led to refunds and/or benefits amounting to $565,679. As payment for his services, Sharma almost always charged his clients 50% of the refund they received.
As a result of his actions, his clients were left owing the CRA around $150,000, reported the Edmonton Journal. The expenses he filed — purportedly related to self-employment, employment, and farming — were characterized as either inflated or “wholly fictitious.”
This isn’t the first time Sharma was sentenced to jail. After being arrested in Arizona and getting extradited back to Canada in 2010, he pleaded guilty to stealing over $5,000 from the Canadian government. He was convicted of fraud and uttering a forged document in a scheme that involved diverting over $110,000 in income-tax payments by his clients to a bank account in his wife’s name. In that case, he received a 15-month jail prison sentence.
“He was incarcerated in the past and yet the impact of imprisonment failed to result in him ceasing criminal activity,” noted provincial court Judge Joyce Lester in a written decision. “His actions seriously impacted a number of individuals, with devastating and in some cases, life-altering results.”
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