BERWYN MAN CHARGED WITH TAX FRAUD
Monday, April 2, 2012
— Sheriff Dart is encouraging citizens to be fully aware of who they are allowing to work on—and view—their tax returns this tax season.
“I urge all to use extreme precaution when hiring anyone to handle tax preperations on your behalf, and to check the IRS website to track when a return is scheduled to be deposited in your bank account,” said Sheriff Thomas J. Dart.
Dart’s reminder comes on the heels of the arrest of James Upshaw, 55, of the 6400 block of 18th Street in Berwyn, who has been charged with conning people out of money by pretending to be a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and depositing their tax returns into his own bank account.
The Sheriff’s Financial Crimes Division was asked to investigate allegations that Upshaw had been filing individual’s taxes but not providing them with their returns. It is alleged that Upshaw is responsible for filing State and Federal tax returns for two individuals, charging them a fee for services and then arranging to have their refunds deposited into his own personal bank account. The combined refunds siphoned away by Upshaw totaled nearly $10,000.
Upshaw used his connections to churches and clergy to lure the victims into allowing him to provide these services under the guise of his business, CFE Professional Services.
Upshaw told the victims that their Federal and State refunds would be deposited electronically directly into their bank accounts within 10 days. While they each filled out all the appropriate government forms for electronic deposit and returned the forms to Upshaw, their returns were never deposited into their accounts.
They repeatedly attempted to make contact with Upshaw, but were given the runaround and most calls were unreturned. Finally, both individuals contacted the Internal Revenue System (IRS) and learned that their taxes had been filed, but the electronic deposits had been deposited directly into Upshaw’s account instead of their own.
As part of the investigation, Cook County Sheriff’s Police subpoenaed Upshaw’s bank account records, which indicated that both victims’ tax refunds had, in fact, been directly deposited into Upshaw’s bank account.
Investigators also learned that Upshaw had pled guilty in 2005 to several felony charges involving financial crimes. His previous conviction—embezzlement and mismanagement of millions of dollars of investment money—involved144 victims in 9 different states. In December of 2005, Upshaw was sentenced to seven and a half years in prison at the Illinois Department of Corrections. He was paroled in December of 2008 and his parole expired in December of 2010.
On March 4, 2012, Upshaw was arrested and charged with two counts of theft over $500, both felonies. Bond was set at $20,000 and he had been out on bail since March 7, 2012.
An additional felony charge of Theft by Deception Over $10,000 was levied against Upshaw last week. It is alleged that he failed to invest $31,000 from an individual he met through his church. He was once again taken into custody by Sheriff’s Police on Friday morning appeared in bond court in Maywood on Saturday. His bond was set at $100,000 and his next court date is scheduled for April 5th in Maywood.
As this tax season enters the final stretch, Sheriff Dart is encouraging all citizens to be keenly aware of who they are hiring this tax season. For tips from the IRS on how to avoid being a vicitim of fraudulent tax preparations, you can visit:
http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=241789,00.html and http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=238262,00.html
You can also track your refund by clicking on this IRS link: http://www.irs.gov/individuals/article/0,,id=96596,00.html