Local accountant Erik Ketelaar has surrendered his CPA license to the Arizona State Board of Accountancy.
It happened after the Board received complaints about Ketelaar and his businesses Tio Sam Taxes and its parent company Ketelaar Accounting.
Last year, customers let us know that they had not received their refunds after weeks, sometimes months after having them prepared at Tio Sam Taxes.
The company was supposed to have the client's refunds deposited into a separate bank account. Then the company would deduct its $249 tax preparation fee and cut a check with the remaining balance to the clients. Customers tell me they never got their money, only excuses.
Customer Natalie Casas said she was expecting a refund for $4,307.
"They assured me that it would be a couple weeks," she said. She received a check that has Ketelaar's signature on it, but the bank said the account had no funds. Natalie's tax return even lists Ketelaar as her preparer.
Another client, Araceli Flores says she was owed more than $1,200.
The Let Joe Know team uncovered internal documents related to Tio Sam Taxes and counted 157 invoices, including those of Casas and Flores.
We tracked down Ketelaar twice to ask him what happened to the refunds. Both times he ran away without answering any questions.
Documents show the Board received several complaints about Ketelaar and his company's business practices, including open cases which are pending.
At least two of the complaints involve missing tax refunds.
One accuses Ketelaar of providing checks that "failed to clear the bank." He says he eventually paid that person.
But another says they were supposed to receive a refund as well and it never came.
Documents show Ketelaar told the Board that client was a part of a government audit and the refund had to cover the cost.
Had there been a formal hearing the state says it would have accused Ketelaar of "gross or continuing negligence" and "failing to adequately maintain clients' records."
But the process never got that far.
Instead, Ketelaar was given the option to voluntarily relinquish his license and have his businesses revoked rather than continue to a formal hearing.
But it doesn't mean much for the people who trusted him with their tax refund.
We also know the IRS has been looking into Tio Sam.
They will not provide any information about that, but we'll stay on top of them.
If you need my help, Call 1-855-323-1515.
You can also sign up here for our monthly newsletter to find out the latest consumer trends and how to avoid scams.