28/02/2024

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Fort Lauderdale accounting firm owner accused of tax fraud

Fort Lauderdale accounting firm owner accused of tax fraud

The website for Jose Coss’s accounting business in Fort Lauderdale tells would-be customers, “you can trust us.” A Wilton Manors Police investigation found they couldn’t.

Coss, 54, was arrested Tuesday and is held in the Broward Main Jail on 18 charges stemming from an ongoing Internal Revenue Service tax fraud investigation. He owns Coss Bookkeeping & Accounting and is the registered agent of numerous other businesses, state business records show.

Coss, in his position as a tax preparer, took clients’ personal information and filed tax documents with it but diverted their money into one of many bank accounts he controlled, Wilton Manors Police said in a news release Wednesday.

Some clients were not supposed to receive tax refunds, but Coss allegedly submitted information to the IRS that said they were. Coss told other victims that they owed money and would submit checks made out to the IRS into one of his bank accounts, the police department said.

The first victim was in Wilton Manors while there were other victims in other cities, Wilton Manors Police Det. Bonnie Owens said in an email. As of Wednesday, 20 victims have been identified.

The police department did not release additional information about the investigation or the allegations against Coss.

The website for Coss’s Fort Lauderdale-based accounting business says he was “recognized by the City of Manassas, Virginia, for services provided as a notary public” in 2005.

Court records in Prince William County, Virginia, show he was charged by indictment in 2010 with embezzlement and pleaded guilty in 2012. Court documents about the case were not available in online court records.

Coss was sentenced to four years in prison in Virginia for the embezzlement charge and served about half a year of it and was on probation between July 2012 and July 2016. Coss was ordered to pay more than $8,000 in restitution to victims in that case, according to a Virginia Department of Corrections report included in the Broward court records.

He was arrested in Broward County in October 2019 for violating the terms of his probation.

Authorities ask anyone who thinks they have been a victim to call Det. Bonnie Owens at 954-390-2192 or email [email protected].