Rocket Refund Owner Indicted on False Tax Returns Charges

Montgomery, Al. (WSFA) -- United States Attorney Leura Canary says a federal grand jury returned an indictment against Montgomery resident Michael T. Chappell Monday for aiding and assisting in the filings of false tax returns.

The indictment alleges that Chappell helped create 15 fraudulent income tax returns from 2005-2006 while he ran Rocket Refund, a tax preparation business.

Chappell is also accused of falsifing amounts of earned income, earned income credit, child tax credit, filing statuses, and dependents on returns which he prepared.

United States Attorney Leura Canary said, "Tax fraud is a serious crime that this office is committed to prosecuting.  When a person files fraudulent income tax returns, all taxpayers are victims and bear the costs of those who seek to cheat the system."

Chappell pleaded not guilty to the charges and was released on bond until his trial.

That trial is set for December 1st.

If convicted Chappell could face three years in prison for each count, a $250,000 fine for each count and up to one year of supervised release after serving his prison term.

He could also be forced to pay restitution to the Internal Revenue Service.

"IRS Criminal Investigation will continue to work closely with the United States Attorney's Office to aggressively pursue those individuals who prepare false tax returns," said IRS Criminal Investigation In-Charge Reginael D. McDaniel.  "Willfully preparing a false tax return that is ultimately filed with the IRS is the same as stealing and there are serious consequences."