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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Louisiana

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, May 30, 2013

St. Charles Parish Tax Preparers, Cathy Ross Vinnett And Lashanda Ruth Vinnett, Indicted By Federal Grand Jury

CATHY ROSS VINNETT, 46, and her daughter, LASHANDA RUTH VINNETT, 29, of Destrehan, Louisiana, were indicted today for conspiracy to defraud the United States and, specifically, the Internal Revenue Service, announced U. S. Attorney Dana J. Boente.

According to court documents, CATHY VINNETT opened the D&C Tax Service (“D&C”) in 2006 and in 2008 the VINNETTS created River Parish Tax Professionals (“River Parish”).  River Parish was established by LASHANDA and CATHY VINNETT for the purpose of filing fraudulent tax returns using the First-Time Homebuyer Credit (“FTHBC”).  The FTHBC was available for people who purchased a new home between April 1, 2008 and July 1, 2009.  Since this was a refundable tax credit, a filer did not have to have any federal tax withholdings for that year in order to claim a tax refund.  For the period alleged in this indictment, the VINNETTs, through their company River Parish, filed approximately 311 tax returns resulting in $1.8 million dollars in refunds.  Of those 311 returns that were filed, 237 or 76% of the returns claimed the FTHBC.

The VINNETTs face a maximum penalty of ten years imprisonment, followed by up to three years of supervised release, and a $250,000 fine.

U. S. Attorney Boente reiterated that an indictment is merely a charge and that the guilt of the defendant must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

This case is being investigated by special agents from the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation Division.  The prosecution of this case is being handled by Strike Force Chief and Assistant U. S. Attorney Brian M. Klebba.

(Download Indictment )