Judge Sends Andover Attorney to Prison for Role in IRS Scam

An Andover attorney will spend four and a half years in jail after being sentenced yesterday in U.S. District Court for his role in filing more than 100 fake tax returns and collecting more than $1 million in refunds.

R. David Cohen, 64, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Leo T. Sorokin to 54 months in prison and three years of supervised release during which time he is not permitted to practice law or act as a notary. The court also ordered Cohen to pay more than $1.6 million in restitution and give up the stolen property. Last January, Cohen was convicted by a federal jury of one count of conspiracy to covert government funds, 14 counts of conversion and receipt of stolen U.S. property, and one count conspiracy to commit money laundering.

Cohen worked with individuals to file fraudulent tax returns with fictitious W-2 information, usually a name and social security number of a resident of Puerto Rico, whose residents are not required to file federal income tax returns, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office, Boston. Once the fraudulent returns were accepted by the IRS, refund checks were sent to addresses in Lawrence, East Boston and New York controlled by Cohen’s co-conspirators.

Beginning in October, 2011, Cohen and his accomplices deposited more than 100 fraudulently-obtained tax refund checks totaling more than $1 million into banks to launder them through Cohen’s “Interest On Lawyer’s Trust Accounts” (IOLTA), as well as through bank accounts in the name of AD Professional Association Inc. When questioned by bank officials about the large amount of U.S. Treasury checks Cohen was depositing and negotiating through his IOLTA and personal accounts, Cohen falsely claimed that the payees were his clients. When one bank requested proof concerning one of the IRS refund checks, Cohen provided a fake participation agreement and affidavit purporting to state that he had the client’s authority to deposit her IRS refund check into his IOLTA account.

According to information on file with the Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth’s office, Cohen served as president and treasurer of AD Professional Association when it was formed in 2012. Jose L. Montas, of Lawrence, served as secretary and director. The purpose of the corporation was listed as “financial and private functions.” Dubin Gonzalez, of Andover, was listed as president in 2014.

U.S. Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz and Joel P. Garland, special agent in charge of the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation in Boston, made the announcement. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys S. Theodore Merritt and Ryan M. DiSantis of Ortiz’s Public Corruption Unit.