WASHINGTON – Lanisha D. Applewhite of Richmond, Calif., was indicted by a federal grand jury in San Francisco, for aiding and assisting the preparation and presentation of false and fraudulent federal income tax returns as well as identity fraud, the Justice Department and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced today.
According to the indictment, from 2008 through 2011, Applewhite, a return preparer, aided and assisted in the preparation and presentation of false and fraudulent federal income tax returns containing claims for deductions and credits to which her clients were not entitled. In addition, six counts allege that Applewhite used individuals' Social Security numbers without lawful authority in preparing false federal income tax returns.
The maximum penalty for aiding and assisting the preparation of false claims is three years in prison and a fine of $250,000 for each count of conviction. The maximum penalty for each count of identity fraud is 15 years in prison and a fine of $250,000.
An indictment is merely an accusation, and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
This case is being investigated by special agents of IRS - Criminal Investigation. Trial Attorneys Charles O’Reilly, Erin Mellen and Sonia Owens of the Justice Department’s Tax Division are prosecuting the case.
Additional information about the Tax Division and its enforcement efforts may be found at www.justice.gov/tax.