Irene Tamika Smith, a former professional tax-return preparer, was sentenced yesterday to serve 33 months in prison for conspiring with her co-workers to defraud the United States by filing false tax returns in order to receive fraudulently-inflated refunds for clients, Assistant Attorney General Kathryn Keneally of the Justice Department's Tax Division and U.S. Attorney Michael J. Moore for the Middle District of Georgia announced today. Smith was also ordered to pay $566,171 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
According to court documents, Smith worked at Quick Tax, a tax preparation business in Cordele, Ga. From 2006 through 2009, Smith conspired with her co-workers Greene Wylie Sheppard, Sabrina Johnson-Lavant and Chandra Henderson to obtain higher refunds on their clients’ returns by falsely inflating clients’ wages in order to exploit certain tax credits. Smith and her co-conspirators also purchased other people’s identities which they then offered to sell to clients so that the clients could obtain higher refunds by falsely claiming additional dependents on their tax returns. Smith and her co-conspirators maintained notebooks that kept track of the identities they sold and how much clients owed them for the false dependents. Over the course of the conspiracy, which spanned four years, Quick Tax claimed over $500,000 in fraudulent refunds.
Smith’s co-conspirators each pleaded guilty to participating in the conspiracy and were sentenced in 2013. Sheppard was sentenced to serve 56 months in prison, Henderson was sentenced to serve 18 months in prison and Johnson-Lavant was sentenced to serve eight months in prison.
The case was investigated by special agents of IRS–Criminal Investigation, and Trial Attorneys Alexander Effendi and Charles Edgar Jr. of the Tax Division prosecuted the case.