Too much advertisement and too many tax troubles landed a Florida tax preparer in court this week.
According to a March 7 report from Florida news channel wftv.com, Orlando tax preparer Abner Charles plead guilty, not to his tax troubles, but to illegally posting hundreds of signs advertising his business.
In court Thursday, Charles was asked by the judge whether he was pleading guilty to multiple civil ordinance violations.
“Yes, indeed,” said Charles. “I come to beg and plead for mercy and grace.”
In response, Charles was fined $3,400 for advertising his business without the proper approval. When the judge agreed to allow Charles to pay off the amount over time – at only $45 per month – Charles said his own personal tax troubles have left him penniless.
“The Department of IRS seized everything we have, our bank account, pretty much everything we have,” Charles said. “My family and I, we have nothing left. Only $20 I have in my pocket.”
Police said Charles is under investigation for tax fraud and identity theft. His tax prep business was raided by the IRS and local police, but Charles still claimed innocence.
“Each and everything we do, we do it according to the law and regulations,” he said.
Despite the fine and his troubles with the IRS, Charles did not necessarily agree to stop placing his signs.
When a local news reporter at the sentencing asked Charles if he was done hanging signs, he replied, “I claim the fifth.” Perhaps she should have told Charles that he was no longer on the stand.
Charles is due back in court to answer to other alleged violations.
Related: Is my tax preparer a fraud?