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Justice News

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

Monday, May 5, 2014

Detroit Woman Pleads Guilty To AidingIn The Preparation Of False Returns

A Detroit woman pleaded guilty to willfully making false claims to the United States government by aiding in the preparation of false income tax returns, U.S. Attorney Barbara L. McQuade announced today.

McQuade was joined in the announcement by Acting Special Agent in Carolyn Weber, Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation.

Stacey Mendenhall, 39, entered the guilty plea before U.S. District Court Judge Nancy Edmunds.

According to court records, during 2009, Mendenhall assisted Gerald Hawk, Jr., a resident of Detroit, in preparing and filing false income tax returns claiming the 2008 First Time Homebuyer Credit (FTHBC).  The FTHBC was a credit for individuals who purchased a home during 2008 to receive up to $8,000 upon filing their income tax returns.  Mendenhall provided Hawk with names and social security numbers of individuals in order that Hawk could prepare false income tax returns claiming the 2008 FTHBC.  Hawk offered Mendenhall $200 in cash for the names and social security numbers that she provided.  Mendenhall and Hawk solicited clients by promising that they could acquire a tax refund of $8,000 to purchase a home by receiving the FTHBC.  Mendenhall and Hawk knew the individuals did not purchase a home and had no intention of later purchasing a home after the credit was received.  Mendenhall provided Hawk with information to prepare and file a number of tax returns falsely claiming the FTHBC.  Mendenhall will be required to pay restitution of $72,673 to the Internal Revenue Service along with Gerald Hawk.

A sentencing hearing was set by Judge Edmunds for August 21at 2 p.m.  The maximum penalty for willfully making false claims to the United States government is imprisonment of not more than five years and a $250,000 fine.  

The investigation of this case was conducted by the Special Agents of the IRS Criminal Investigation and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ross MacKenzie.

Updated March 19, 2015