Ewa Beach couple pleads guilty to tax fraud
Mar. 20—An Ewa Beach couple pleaded guilty Friday after they were caught up in a federal investigation into allegations of tax fraud that took down a half-dozen local residents, according to a plea agreement.
In May 2021, a federal indictment revealed that from 2015 to 2021, Michael and Brigida Chock of Ewa Beach, along with an unnamed co-conspirator, prepared and filed a Form 1099-MISC reporting bogus tax withholding, as well as a false 2014 amended individual income tax return that requested a refund of $225,327, based on those fraudulent withholdings.
The couple's co-conspirator was paid $73,500 for the help getting and concealing the refund. The Chocks also falsely claimed to the IRS that they had prepared the fake tax return themselves, according to a news release from the U.S. Department of Justice.
After receiving the alleged false return, the IRS issued a refund to the Chocks. The Chocks allegedly took steps to prevent the IRS from retrieving the money once the government tried to collect it. Michael Chock is accused of using local banks to launder the money, according to the release.
Michael and Brigida Chock each face up to five years in prison, federal probation, restitution and monetary penalties if convicted. The IRS-Criminal Investigation, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, and the FBI are managing the investigation.
Trial Attorneys Sarah Kiewlicz and Meredith Havekost of the Justice Department's Tax Division and Assistant U.S. Attorney Gregg Paris Yates are prosecuting the case for the government.