Crime - Sacto 911

Five people indicted in alleged Citrus Heights-based tax fraud conspiracy

Five people have been indicted by a federal grand jury in Sacramento for alleged involvement in a tax fraud conspiracy run from a Citrus Heights business.

Brothers Aleksandr Kuzmenko, 30, of Loomis and Petr Kuzmenko, 35, of West Sacramento were arraigned Wednesday in federal court on charges of conspiring to defraud the United States by filing multiple false tax returns claiming a first-home buyers credit, according to a federal Department of Justice news release. The indictment was unsealed Wednesday.

The other defendants, who have yet to appear in court, are Arsen Muhtarov, 35, of Sacramento; Valeriy Nikitchuk, 41, of Kent, Wash.; and Sergey Dyakanov, 48, of Ukraine.

Aleksandr Kuzmenko was a tax preparer at VK Tax Services in Citrus Heights. The indictment alleges that in 2009, he used stolen identification information and fictitious addresses to file fraudulent tax returns that claimed more than $600,000 in first-time home buyer credits from the Internal Revenue Service. The resulting refunds allegedly were electronically deposited into bank accounts that Aleksandr Kuzmenko and his co-defendants controlled. The proceeds were then withdrawn and spent.

According to court documents, the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 established the first-time home buyers credit, which could be worth up to $7,500. Individuals who had purchased their homes in 2008 were eligible for the credit, which was similar to a no-interest loan that had to be repaid in 15 equal, annual installments beginning with the 2010 income tax year. The first-time home buyers credit reduced the home buyer’s tax bill, or increased his or her refund, depending on the amount of taxes owed. The IRS would refund the credit, even if the home buyer owed no tax or the credit was more than the tax owed.

Aleksandr Kuzmenko was released on a $50,000 bond, and Petr Kuzmenko was released on a $100,000 bond. Their next court date in April 17.

The case resulted from an investigation by the IRS – Criminal Investigation.