The Mo Money franchise once claimed more than 300 stores in 18 states, primarily in the South, before a court barred the franchise's owners, cousins Markey Granberry and Derrick Robinson, from preparing tax returns for others or owning or operating such a business. The Blanchard and Pittman sentences were only the latest in a series of actions related to actions against former Mo Money store owners and preparers.
Blanchard must serve 70 months in prison; Pittman, 33 months, and pay $549,000 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service. The two had each pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States and one count of aiding and assisting in the preparation of false tax returns. Blanchard must serve three years of supervised release, Pittman, one year, after serving their terms.
Blanchard and Pittman operated three Mo Money locations in the Richmond, Va., area. Another participant in the scheme, Corey Taylor, 25, of Richmond, was sentenced to serve 20 months in prison
In 2013, another chain store franchisee, Jimi Clark of Memphis, Tenn., was sentenced to 20 months in prison for falsely claiming educational tax credits on 47 returns. A co-defendant in that case was sentenced to six months in prison, while three others pleaded guilty and were sentenced in the same case.