Justice News

Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, September 30, 2010
Two Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Tax Preparers Plead Guilty to Aiding in Preparation of False Tax Returns

WASHINGTON – Cynthia Peters and Melissa Edwards pleaded guilty to one count each of aiding and assisting in the filing of a false tax return in U.S. District Court in Baton Rouge, La., the Justice Department and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced today. The court has not yet set a sentencing date.

According to court documents, Peters, who worked at Jasmine and Melissa’s Tax Service in Baton Rouge, prepared fraudulent tax returns for 23 clients that reported falsely inflated telephone excise tax refund (TETR) credits in the total amount of $92,932. The TETR credit was a one-time credit available to taxpayers for the 2006 year. Peters also agreed to pay restitution to the IRS in the amount of $76,908.

According to court documents, Edwards, who also worked at Jasmine and Melissa’s Tax Service in Baton Rouge, prepared fraudulent tax returns for 20 clients that reported falsely inflated TETR credits in the total amount of $126,856. Edwards also agreed to pay restitution to the IRS in the amount of $56,040.

John A. DiCicco, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Department of Justice, Tax Division, commended the IRS Special Agents who investigated this case and Tax Division Trial Attorneys Kevin C. Lombardi and Matthew J. Mueller and Assistant U.S. Attorney Rene Salomon of the Middle District of Louisiana, who prosecuted the case.

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