An eight-member jury has unanimously found that a former Jackson Hewitt tax preparer, Frances Carlson of Bradenton, Fla., prepared 27 federal tax returns that she knew would understate her customers’ tax liabilities, the Justice Department announced today. The verdict followed an eight-day trial in Tampa, Fla., before Judge Susan Bucklew of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida.
The jury answered 36 separate questions in favor of the government in reaching the verdict. As a consequence, based on evidence presented at the trial, Carlson is liable for penalties totaling $135,000, plus interest.
According to evidence presented at the trial, Carlson worked at JH Accounting, a Sarasota, Fla., accounting firm controlled by Daniel Prewett. The evidence showed that Carlson also worked as a tax preparer for a Sarasota franchise of Jackson Hewitt Tax Service Inc. that Prewett controlled. According to trial evidence, Prewett was previously convicted by a federal jury on charges related to cocaine distribution and money laundering and was sentenced to 18 years in prison in 2008.
In 2009, a federal court in Tampa permanently barred Prewett and Carlson from preparing federal tax returns for others.
Further information about the recent enforcement efforts of the Justice Department’s Tax Division against unscrupulous tax-return preparers and tax-fraud promoters is available on the Justice Department’s website .