Friday, April 01, 2005

An Oronogo woman has been given 15 days to show cause why she should not have an injunction entered against her to prevent her from preparing tax returns.
Carrie Ann Shafer has ignored U. S. Attorney Todd Graves' request for a permanent injunction and continues to prepare tax returns for 2004, according to documents filed March 14 in U. S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri. Under the order issued today by Judge Gary A. Fenner, Ms. Shafer will have to respond or risk having the permanent injunction handed down.
As earlier noted in The Turner Report, Ms. Shafer's business, which she runs out of her home, is alleged to have prepared fraudulent returns.
"Since at least September 2003," Graves' request for the injunction said, "Shafer has been preparing original and amended federal income tax returns for tax years 2000-2003 that claim fictitious or inflated itemized deductions for various expenses, including medical and dental expenses, charitable contributions, and unreimbursed employee business expenses."
The government claims Ms. Shafer made up the deductions without even getting any information from her customers to back them up. "For at least one customer," the complaint said, "Ms. Shafer also claimed an inflated child-care expense credit based on child-care services that Shafer knew had never actually been provided to, or paid for by, the customer."
The complaint also says she has been showing fictitious or inflated amounts of profit from the child-care businesses of her customers, "which results in the customers receiving "Earned Income Tax Credit refunds to which they are not entitled."
So far, tax returns of 16 of her customers have been examined, the March 14 filing said. "All of these customers' tax returns contained fictitious or inflated itemized deductions."Because of that, the filing said, the IRS assessed more than $25,000 in additional taxes, not including interest and penalties for the 2003 tax year. Ninety-two thousand dollars in refund claims were disallowed for those customers, according to the filing.The problem will continue to grow, Graves indicated. "The IRS has identified over 1,000 federal income tax returns prepared by Shafer for tax year 2003. Of these, approximately 75 percent included a Schedule A (itemized deductions) and claimed a refund. The refunds claimed on these returns total over $2 million" Another 20 percent of those returns included a Schedule C (profit or loss from business, sole proprietorship), Graves said. It is not just Ms. Shafer that has provided false information to the government, the filing indicates. "Shafer has encouraged at least one of her customers to provide false information to the IRS at an examination meeting"
The word that she was under investigation did not stop her from continuing her activities, Graves said. "Shafer has prepared federal tax returns with fictitious or inflated itemized deductions even after being notified that she was under investigation by the IRS for her tax-preparation activities. Shafer is currently preparing 2004 federal income tax returns for customers."
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Nexstar Broadcasting announced the completion of its $450 million refinancing, according to Business Wire.
The company, which owns KSNF and is the de facto owner of KODE, entered into two new senior secured credit facility agreements, the article said. The agreements, which are both Nexstar and KODE's purported owner Mission Broadcasting, are due to mature in 2012.
With the financing, Nexstar redeemed all of its 12 percent senior subordinated notes, which had been due in 2008. The article quotes Nexstar CEO Perry Sook as saying, "These transactions improve our capital structure by enhancing free cash flow through a lower cost of capital and providing greater financial flexibility."
Sook said the company's goals are to continue to improve the stations it has acquired over the past two years and to reduce debt.
Buried in the news release is a statement which should cause alarm for anyone concerned with quality operations of news departments at Nexstar stations. "We do not intend to make any acquisitions in 2005, and are instead pursuing the divestiture of certain non-strategic station assets, the proceeds from which we would use to further strengthen our balance sheet."
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It is amazing that all it took was a little pressure from the Blunt family to convince Missouri Department of Natural Resources to get off their rear ends and do something about the odor problem that has made living in Carthage a challenge recently.
In today's Carthage Press, an article written by Managing Editor Ron Graber reveals that all it took was a timely visit or two by agency officials to find out what the problem is at Renewable Energy Solutions, the ConAgra affiliate that is apparently responsible for the problem.
RES has been given 15 days to take care of the problem. If it doesn't, the MDNR will upgrade the Notice of Excess Emissions against RES to a Notice of Violation, according to the article.
Problems found by agency investigators include "two truck trailers at the entrance of the facility spilling contents of blood and water or meat byproducts onto the roadway," and "one trailer was observed untarped exposing it to rainwater."
An agency news release said, "Both instances could revolt in contaminated storm water runoff."
It shouldn't have been necessary for our elected officials to have to come down hard on the Department of Natural Resources. If the agency had been doing the job it has been receiving a considerable amount of taxpayer money to do, Carthage residents wouldn't have been faced with this problem for so long.

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