In June of 2012, the BBB Serving Southeast Texas began receiving calls from area consumers stating that they were afraid because they gave their personal information out to someone they thought they could trust. BBB investigated and alerted authorities. On February 5, 2014, the Department of Justice, U.S. Attorney John M. Bales Eastern District of Texas announced Dallas Tax preparer, Shannon Tecoko Mays, was indicted by a federal grand jury and charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Bales recognized BBB serving Southeast Texas, Port Arthur Police Department, Texas Attorney General’s Office, Treasury Department, and Internal Revenue Service for their combined efforts in this investigation and for assisting Southeast Texas consumers.
After a formal press Conference on February 5, 2014, the United States Attorney’s Office Eastern District of Texas released the following information:
Tax Preparer Indicted in SYAM Tax Service Scheme
BEAUMONT, Texas – A Dallas tax preparer has been indicted for federal violations in the Eastern District of Texas, announced U.S. Attorney John M. Bales today.
Shannon Tecoko Mays, 36, of Dallas, was indicted today by a federal grand jury charging him with conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
According to prosecutors, an investigation began in August 2012 in response to numerous complaints to state and federal authorities from citizens in Port Arthur, Anahuac, Nacogdoches and Lufkin, Texas regarding income tax returns that were being fraudulently prepared on their behalf. During the investigation, it was discovered that Mays was operating numerous offices across the United States under the name “Syam Tax Services, L.L.C.” and “Baby Momma Tax.” Although the principal office was located in Dallas, Mays also operated or sought to operate satellite offices in numerous other locations, including Fort Worth, Houston, New Orleans, Memphis, Atlanta, Chicago and Los Angeles.
The indictment alleges that Mays targeted individuals who were generally exempt from having to file income tax returns because they would be less likely to discover a fraudulent tax return had been filed on their behalf. To further facilitate the scheme, Mays employed “recruiters,” paying them from $50-100 for every client they successfully brought into Syam Tax. In order to avoid detection, Mays altered the taxpayer’s address and phone numbers on the returns so that any phone calls or correspondence from the IRS would not reach the taxpayer. The scheme also used electronic deposits to ensure paper checks would not be mailed to the taxpayer.
For the tax year 2011, Mays filed 4,226 tax returns claiming approximately $3,150,406. If convicted, Mays faces up to 20 years in federal prison.
This case is being investigated by Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation, Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Port Arthur Police Department, the Texas Attorney General’s Office – Consumer Protection Division, and the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. This case is being prosecutedby Assistant U.S. Attorney Baylor Wortham.
It is important to note that a grand jury indictment is not evidence of guilt.