Owner of Mo’ Money franchise arrested on fraud charges

Posted at 7:56 AM, Oct 25, 2012
and last updated 2012-10-25 07:56:34-04

ST. LOUIS, MO. (WTVR) – The owner of the Mo’ Money Taxes franchise in St. Louis was arrested Wednesday on fraud charges.

Franchise owner Jimi Clark, 57, and four employees have been charged with falsely claiming educational tax credits on 47 returns filed in 2009, the IRS said on Wednesday.

The arrests mark yet another negative event for the high-profile Memphis firm long considered the largest tax preparer based in Tennessee.

The tax firm faced fraud charges filed separately by attorneys general in Illinois and Missouri after hundreds of consumers in five states complained they never received refund checks. It’s not clear if the IRS raid, which occurred April 25, figures into the case against Clark.

CBS 6 visited the south Richmond and eastern Henrico Mo’ Money locations back in February after customers started complaining.  All we found were empty offices and no answers.

Clark and four employees were indicted by a federal grand jury on October 10. The indictment was kept sealed from public view until IRS agents in Memphis and St. Louis took the five into custody on Wednesday.

Those arrested were identified by the IRS as Justin Buford, 26, Memphis; Leslie Chaney, 43, St. Louis; Ray Reed, 38, St. Louis; and Mary Taylor, 48, Memphis. They were indicted on one felony count each of conspiracy to commit tax fraud.

Memphis entrepreneurs Markey Granberry and Derrick Robinson opened Mo’ Money in 1995 and eventually expanded into 17 states with company-owned offices. Using colorful advertisements on television stations, Mo’ Money catered to working people claiming Earned Income Tax Credits on their tax forms. A federal anti-poverty measure, the tax credit offered refunds of $1,000 and more to millions of low-income households.

Click HERE to see our archive of stories about Mo’ Money Taxes.