A federal grand jury indicted Melanau Fohe Haiola, 52, on Wednesday for preparing false tax returns for her clients and for failing to report income she earned.
The indictment charges that Haiola, of Kahuku, prepared 17 Federal Income Tax returns that fraudulently claimed the American Opportunity Credit, a deduction for undergraduate education expenses; personal property rental expense deductions; or medical, dental, or employee expenses. In addition, the indictment charges that Haiola filed false tax returns for herself for the 2009 and 2010 tax years by underreporting her income by a total of $114,315.
Florence T. Nakakuni, United States Attorney for the District of Hawaii, said that according to the indictment, Haiola, as owner and operator of Nau's Tax Preparation, personally prepared, and supervised others in the preparation of, hundreds of federal income tax returns, many of which claimed the American Opportunity Credit and the personal property rental expense deduction when neither was legally applicable.
If convicted, Haiola faces up to three years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 for each of the 19 charges. The charges in the indictment are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
The prosecution resulted from an investigation conducted by the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Marshall Silverberg.