WASHINGTON – The United States has sued Dorthea Alexander of Leola, Pa., seeking to bar her from preparing federal tax returns for others, the Justice Department announced today. The civil injunction suit alleges that Alexander claimed false tax deductions, credits and exemptions on customer tax returns during her employment as tax supervisor at Pawn Plus Inc. in Lancaster, Pa.
According to the government complaint in the case, Alexander allegedly fabricated deductions for charitable donations, business expenses, medical expenses and other miscellaneous expenses to reduce her customers’ reported tax liabilities. The complaint states that she also used the names and social security numbers of unrelated individuals to claim improper dependent exemptions for her customers, sometimes charging customers extra for doing so.
In one instance cited in the complaint, Alexander allegedly told a customer that he “could use some dependents,” which would give him a larger tax refund. She allegedly then listed as dependents on his tax return the names and social security numbers of people whom the customer did not know, and charged the customer a fee for claiming those dependents equal to half of the resulting inflated tax refund.
According to the complaint, the total harm to the government from Alexander’s misconduct for the 2004 through 2007 tax years could be as high as $10.8 million.
Return preparer fraud is one of the IRS’s “Dirty Dozen” tax scams for 2011. In the past decade, the Justice Department’s Tax Division has obtained injunctions against hundreds of tax-fraud promoters and unscrupulous tax-return preparers. Information about these cases is available on the Justice Department website .