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Phony CPA Arrested On State Income Tax Charges, Business Colleague Also Arrested

Released: January 9, 2009

SACRAMENTO - The owner of a Glendale tax preparation business and his colleague were arrested today on multiple felony charges of filing false personal state tax returns, not filing a personal return, and not paying taxes on income from their bogus securities investment scheme, according to the Franchise Tax Board (FTB).

Donald R. Ford, of Glendale, is charged with filing false state tax returns and failing to pay more than $101,000 in taxes on more than $1.3 million of income. He acquired the income from an unlawful investment scheme he created and persuaded his clients to invest in by posing as a Certified Public Account (CPA). Gregory A. Edwards, of Culver City, Calif., is charged with receiving more than $961,000 from the scheme, not filing a state tax return, and not paying more than $81,000 in tax.

Ford was arrested without incident this morning at his place of business, Donald R. Ford Financial and Tax, by Department of Justice (DOJ) Agents. Edwards was arrested without incident this morning at a Glendale diner.

The filing of false tax returns and the failure to file tax returns is part of the annual $6.5 billion tax gap facing California. The tax gap is defined as the difference between taxes that are owed and what is paid.

CPAs are licensed by the state. The public can check on the status of a CPA with the California Board of Accountancy at www.cba.ca.gov or by calling 916.263.3680. The IRS and FTB have recently issued a brochure, FTB Publication 982, How to Select an Income Tax Return Preparer where taxpayers can learn more about choosing a tax professional.

Ford and Edwards were both booked into the Los Angeles County Jail. Their bail is set at $1.3 million each. Their arraignment is scheduled for Monday, January 12, 2009, at 8:30 a.m. in the Los Angeles County Courthouse.

This is a joint investigation between FTB and the DOJ. Deputy Attorney General, Edward Skelly with the DOJ is prosecuting this case.