United States v. Poltonowicz, 120209 FED3, 08-2772

Docket Nº:08-2772
Opinion Judge:SCIRICA, Chief Judge, JORDAN and COWEN, Circuit Judges
Judge Panel:BEFORE: SCIRICA, Chief Judge, JORDAN and COWEN, Circuit Judges
Case Date:December 02, 2009
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit




No. 08-2772

United States Court of Appeals, Third Circuit

December 2, 2009


Submitted Pursuant to Third Circuit LAR 34.1(a) November 6, 2009

On Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania (D.C. Criminal No. 2-07-cr-00052-1) District Judge: Hon. James T. Giles

BEFORE: SCIRICA, Chief Judge, JORDAN and COWEN, Circuit Judges


COWEN, Circuit Judge

John J. Poltonowicz, pro se, appeals the judgment of conviction and sentence following his trial conviction for one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371, twelve counts of aiding, assisting, and counseling the filing of false tax returns in violation of 26 U.S.C. § 7206(2), four counts of mail fraud in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1341, three counts of wire fraud in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1343, five counts of making false statements on loan applications in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1014, and two counts of making false statements to the Internal Revenue Service ("IRS") in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1001. We will affirm.


Poltonowicz began his career with the IRS as an analyst in its Criminal Investigation Division. In 1992, he left the IRS and began operating a tax preparation business. Over time his business expanded to include additional offices and he hired additional tax preparers.

By 2003, the IRS began to suspect fraud and sent an undercover agent to his office with a recording device. During the course of the taped conversation, Poltonowicz informed the agent that he would include business expenses in her return, even though she repeatedly told him that she had no business expenses. Although the agent never mentioned charitable contributions, and provided him with no evidence whatsoever of any such contributions, he included $2,190 in cash contributions to charity and $495 in non-cash contributions to charity on the agent's return. As a result, the agent's tax return showed that she was entitled to a $12 refund, instead of reflecting that she owed $1,012 in additional taxes. Subsequently, the agent requested a meeting with Poltonowicz to discuss a letter she received from the IRS informing her that she would be audited. Again, the agent wore a recording device. He admitted to the preparation of a false tax return and that he included the false deductions to save her from paying additional taxes (as he operated under the assumption that she would not be audited). He reassured her that she would not get in trouble for the fraudulent return.

Poltonowicz agreed to plead guilty to one count of filing false tax returns and the IRS revoked his ability to file electronic tax returns. Thereafter, he formed Matrix Tax Service, Inc. ("Matrix") in the name of June M. McMackin, his long-time roommate and housekeeper. He filed an account with the IRS under her name to again begin filing electronic tax returns. Prior to trial, he moved, pro se, to suppress the evidence obtained during searches of his home and Matrix's offices. Poltonowicz appeared at the suppression hearing pro se with the assistance of an attorney serving as a legal advisor. He testified that he was not the owner of Matrix, that Ms. McMackin owned Matrix, and that she had interviewed and hired him. The district court denied his motion.

At trial, several former employees testified that Poltonowicz instructed them to claim nonexistent...

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