WASHINGTON – The United States has filed a lawsuit in federal court in New Orleans seeking to bar two women and their tax preparation companies from preparing federal tax returns for others, the Justice Department announced today.
The government’s civil injunction complaint alleges that Cathy Vinnett, her daughter Lashanda Vinnett (both of whom reside in Destrehan, La.), and their companies – M&C Tax Service, D&C Tax Service, River Parish Tax Professionals and Remarkable Tax Services – prepared federal tax returns for customers that claimed fraudulent tax refunds based on fabricated telephone excise tax credits, earned income tax credits and first time homebuyer tax credits. The suit alleges that the Vinnetts retained most of the resulting refunds for themselves, without telling their customers. According to the complaint, the bogus refund claims have resulted in a tax harm to the government that could be as much as $2.2 million.
Return preparer fraud is on the Internal Revenue Service’s list of the “Dirty Dozen” tax scams for 2011. Over the past decade, the Justice Department’s Tax Division has obtained hundreds of injunctions to stop the promotion of tax fraud schemes and the preparation of false tax returns. More information about these cases is available on the Justice Department website .