Tax preparer extradited to Canada for tax fraud

March 11, 2019

February 27, 2019

Newmarket, Ontario

Canada Revenue Agency

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) announced today that Aurelius Carlton Branch was extradited to Canada from Costa Rica on February 26, 2019, to face charges of tax fraud.

The criminal charges laid on November 27, 2012, against Branch, a partner in Fiscal Arbitrators, allege that, between January 1, 2007 and December 1, 2011, he defrauded the Government of Canada by participating in the preparation of false T1 Income Tax and Benefit Returns for individuals, thereby committing an offence contrary to section 380(1) (a) of the Criminal Code.

All case-specific information above was obtained from the court records.

As Branch could not be located, a Canada-wide arrest warrant was issued on January 29, 2013, and Interpol published a “Red Notice” on April 12, 2013, identifying Branch as wanted for prosecution in Canada. In cooperation with Costa Rican authorities, Branch was arrested on September 21, 2017, for the purpose of extradition to Canada. The CRA would like to thank the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) for its assistance in this matter.

Branch and his business partner, Lawrence Watts, operated Fiscal Arbitrators, a tax preparation firm that promoted a scheme that had clients claiming non-existent business losses. Watts was convicted on October 22, 2015, and subsequently sentenced to six years of incarceration and a fine. More information on the Watts case can be obtained through court records.

This case is another of the more serious and complex investigations the CRA is taking on. It also showcases the outcome of the CRA’s increased focus on promoters and its commitment to bringing them to justice.

Those who do not comply with tax laws place an unfair burden on law-abiding taxpayers and businesses and jeopardize the integrity of Canada's tax base. While investigations take time, the CRA is committed to acting on all serious non-compliance. From April 1, 2013, to March 31, 2018, the courts convicted 307 taxpayers for tax evasion of $134 million in federal tax. These convictions resulted in sentences totaling approximately $37 million in court fines and 2,949 months (246 years) in jail.

The CRA has set up a free subscription service to help Canadians stay current on the CRA’s enforcement efforts.

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Media Relations
Canada Revenue Agency

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