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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of South Carolina

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Abbeville Woman Pleads Guilty to Preparing False Tax Returns

(Defendant operated a tax preparation service)

Contact Person: Beth Drake (803) 929-3000

Columbia, South Carolina ---- United States Attorney Bill Nettles stated today that Sandra Burton, age 48, of Abbeville, South Carolina , pled guilty today in federal court in Spartanburg, to ten counts of preparing materially false income tax returns, each a violation of Title 26, United States Code, Section 7206(2).    United States District Judge Mary G. Lewis accepted the plea and will impose sentence after she has reviewed the presentence report which will be prepared by the U.S. Probation Office.

Had the case gone to trial, the Government was prepared to show that during the years 2006 through 2008 Burton operated a tax return preparation service in Abbeville.  The majority of her clients were W-2 wage earners. As a result of an unusually large number of returns prepared by Burton claiming educational credits and IRA contributions, in 2008, an IRS undercover agent sought to have a return prepared based solely on a W-2. The return prepared by Burton included an IRA deduction and an education credit thus giving the undercover Ataxpayer@ a refund to which the agent otherwise would not have been entitled.  Thereafter, Burton=s tax service was searched by the IRS and Burton admitted that she had given taxpayers deductions to which they were not entitled.  The other nine counts to which Burton plead guilty involved similar materially false credits and deductions in returns prepared by her.  Due to Burton=s activity, the cumulative tax loss was in excess of $200,000.00. 

Mr. Nettles stated the maximum penalty Burton can receive on each of the ten counts is a fine of $250,000.00 and/or imprisonment for 3 years, plus a special assessment of $100.00.

The case was investigated by agents of the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation.  Assistant United States Attorney William C. Lucius of the Greenville office handled the case.

Updated January 26, 2015