Ex-President Donald Trump is engaged in a state-level struggle to retain his presence on election ballots. He has faced exclusion from the primary ballots in Colorado and Maine, and he has sought recourse by appealing these rulings to the Supreme Court. Nevertheless, the legal battle persists.
Simultaneously, an individual involved in the effort to prevent Trump from appearing on state ballots has been apprehended and accused of over 30 criminal offenses.
The US Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Texas revealed the apprehension of John Anthony Castro on January 10. This 40-year-old, known for initiating numerous legal challenges to Trump’s eligibility for the ballot, faces over 30 charges related to aiding and abetting in the creation and submission of fraudulent tax returns. Castro is a key figure in the strategy employing the 14th Amendment’s insurrection clause to prevent Trump from being listed on ballots.
Castro serves as the proprietor and manager of Castro & Company LLC, a virtual tax preparation service operating in Washington, DC, Mansfield, Texas, and Orlando, Florida. According to the federal indictment, Castro is alleged to have orchestrated a fraudulent scheme involving the generation and submission of misleading tax returns on behalf of individuals unaware of the deceptive plan.
As per the indictment, individuals enlisted Castro’s services based on his assurances of substantially higher refunds compared to other tax preparers. Allegedly, he achieved this by generating fictitious deductions without the taxpayers’ awareness. Furthermore, he purportedly proposed to share the extra funds with many of the taxpayers involved.
In 2018, an undercover agent assumed the role of a taxpayer and reached out to Castro. The accused is alleged to have declined an in-person meeting with the agent unless a $5,000 retainer fee was paid. He indicated a willingness to assist the agent in preparing the tax returns. Reportedly, Castro suggested that he could provide an estimate of the potential tax return from another firm and compare it to what the agent might receive by engaging his services.
Reportedly, on March 14, 2018, Castro purportedly submitted the tax return for the agent, asserting nearly $30,000 in fabricated deductions. The resulting refund for the agent amounted to $6,007, of which $2,999 was paid to Castro for his services. The agent reportedly received only $3,008, as the defendant claimed the alternative tax preparer would have yielded a mere $300 for the agent.
The accused is alleged to have employed comparable methods with numerous individuals, resulting in the IRS disbursing hundreds of thousands of dollars in deceptive claims. Castro is confronting potential sentences of three years for each of the 33 charges, amounting to a maximum of 99 years in federal prison.
The next court appearance for the defendant is scheduled for January 17.