Last week I spoke about the raid and bust of On Time Tax Consultants for allegedly scamming low income taxpayers. Unfortunately, On Time Tax Consultants are not the only local tax preparation service targeting lower income individuals in our community.
Liberty Tax Service, located at 3320 Southwest 35th Boulevard, Gainesville, Florida, has also been under investigation for preying on low income individuals. Although Liberty Tax Service has not been charged with doing anything illegal, they are still being scrutinized by the community.
As part of a marketing scheme to attract minority, low income customers in the Lincoln Estates Neighborhood, Liberty Tax Service allegedly made insinuations of compensating their customers with a $50 bill and DRUGS in exchange for utilizing Liberty’s Tax Services. The promotional “mailers” consisted of a baggie filled with a realistic-looking fake fifty dollar bill and two rocks, resembling crack cocaine.
Lincoln Estates has battled a reputation for being a lower income demographic with a persistent drug problem, but has recently partnered with law enforcement to revitalize their community and distant themselves from the drug problems. Accordingly, residents of Lincoln Estates became concerned and contacted police after seeing the baggies, believing that such had been mistakenly left behind by a drug dealer. Residents were outraged after learning the baggies were a marketing ploy from a tax service on the other side of town – allegedly targeting a particular demographic.
After complaints from Lincoln Estates residents whom were concerned the baggies contained real drugs, the Gainesville Police became involved and the mailers were pulled. See the full story and what residents and Gainesville Police had to say about the situation: