FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
THURSDAY, JULY 28, 2005
TDD (202) 514-1888
FEDERAL COURT BARS MISSOURI TAX-RETURN PREPARER
FROM PREPARING FEDERAL INCOME TAX RETURNS
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Justice Department announced today that a federal court in St. Louis has permanently barred Ella Mae Peterson, of St. Louis, Missouri, from preparing federal income tax returns. In entering the permanent injunction, Judge Catherine D. Perry of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri also ordered Peterson to provide the government the names, mailing and e-mail addresses, and Social Security and telephone numbers of customers for whom she prepared any tax return, amended return, or refund claim for tax periods ending after January 1, 2004.
The governments complaint alleged that Peterson formerly worked at a local H&R Block office, where she prepared federal income tax returns containing fictitious or inflated deductions and overstated tax exemptions. She also allegedly forged customer signatures on various IRS forms. The complaint alleged that the government identified 1,751 tax returns Peterson prepared for tax years 2000-2003, and estimated that the returns Peterson prepared for those years have cost the federal treasury more than $6.5 million.
People who prepare false or fraudulent tax returns cheat their customers as well as the federal treasury in order to enrich themselves, said Eileen J. OConnor, Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Departments Tax Division. The Department of Justice and the Internal Revenue Service are working vigorously to stop their systematic abuses of the tax system.
More information about this case is available at http://www.usdoj.gov/tax/txdv05158.htm. The case is part of an effort begun in 2001 to stop tax-scam promoters and tax-return preparers who prepare and file fraudulent returns. The Justice Department has obtained injunctions against more than 100 promoters and tax-return preparers since 2001. More information about other tax injunction cases can be found at http://www.usdoj.gov/tax/taxpress2005.htm. More information about the Justice Departments Tax Division is available at http://www.usdoj.gov/tax/index.html.