(Memphis) The man behind Mo’ Money Taxes and one of the biggest, Memphis tax scandals of 2012 is back.
The On Your Side Investigators have discovered, however, as Markey Granberry opens the doors to a new business, there are some old customers who still don’t have their refunds.
It’s the start of a new tax season and a familiar face is back in business.
“Some of you guys were asking me, what are you going to do next year? I told you, I’m going do taxes next year,” says Granberry.
There’s a message on the window at Marquis Taxes that reads, “Why Pay High Fees.”
It may seem ironic, or even a slap in the face to some considering the complaints of last year. The opening of Marquis Taxes is getting a mixed reaction from customers.
“Good luck,” exclaims Rosie Summers.
“Staying loyal to the people that got my taxes together right, so I’m going to come back and do it again,” says customer Darrius Coleman.
Twelve months ago, Granberry and the company he started were at the center of a national controversy when customers couldn’t get their refunds. From Memphis to Norfolk to Chicago, customers demanded refunds and answers, and so did News Channel 3.
“Where’s the money,” I asked Granberry during a February interview outside his office. “That is the bank’s and the software company’s issue,” Granberry told us.
However, it became Granberry’s issue.
Files were dumped outside area offices, one landlord evicted Mo’ Money, and offices across the country were shut down.
Eventually the IRS paid a visit to the Mo’ Money headquarters, there was a congressional hearing, plus two states and the US Department of Justice filed lawsuits.
Lawsuits outline complaints about “undisclosed and exorbitant preparation fees,” filing taxes without customers’ permission and tax fraud.
Five Missouri workers now face federal charges. Despite all of this, Granberry maintains his innocence.
“If I would have done something wrong or illegal, I wouldn’t be sitting here across from you right now,” says Granberry.
I asked him, “What about all the other individuals, and that’s still the Mo’ Money name on those lawsuits.”
“No lawsuit has gone forward with any action and everybody is innocent until proven guilty on this great land we live on,” Granberry replied.
Guilt or innocence doesn’t matter to Summers. We first met in June of 2012 when she told us her refund check was no good and it hadn’t been replaced.
“That check haven’t made it here yet! A whole year later, it hasn’t made it,” says Summers. Summers says she’s been back to Mo Money, and the IRS didn’t give her much help.
“When I signed those papers, I signed my money over to them and it’s really nothing they can do,” she says IRS representatives told her.
We asked the IRS about Summers’ refund, they wouldn’t comment, but encourages anyone who suspects preparer fraud to file a formal complaint. A recent report from the National Taxpayer Advocate Service suggests the IRS isn’t doing enough to help taxpayers like Summers.
The TAS says the IRS should provide “full relief, including a refund.”
Congressman Steve Cohen asked the Justice Department to step in after his office continued to get complaints from Mo’ Money customers.
He supports more funding for the IRS to hunt down shady preparers, but says the entire ordeal should serve as a warning to taxpayers.
“I think that should raise a red flag to anybody when a third-party is going to get your check and you may not get your check and now people know that,” says Cohen.
Besides getting ready for the new filing season, Granberry is turning the legal tables.
He filed civil warrants against two landlords for wrongful eviction.
“As soon as a little trouble come, maybe they thought I was going to jail, I don’t know what they thought!”
What customers think does matter, because that is who Granberry must convince to walk through the door.
“Do you understand, why a customer who went through what they went through last year, just wouldn’t trust coming to you,” I asked Granberry?
“I understand that, but I would say to that customer, don’t let one year justify what you should do, let 17 years justify what you should do.”
All of the lawsuits against Mo’ Money are still pending. As for Ms. Summers, we’re working with congressmen and the Taxpayer Advocate Service to get her refund.