News and Press Releases

PORT ST LUCIE TAX RETURN PREPARER SENTENCED FOR ROLE IN TAX FRAUD SCHEME

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 18, 2011

Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and José A. Gonzalez, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division, announced that defendant Tawayne Owens, a/k/a Tawane Owens, 32, of Port St. Lucie, was sentenced late yesterday by United States District Court Judge Jose E. Martinez to 30 months’ imprisonment, followed by 3 years of supervised release. In addition, she was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $87,627.11 to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Owens was remanded to the custody of the United States Marshal after the sentencing hearing.

On March 31, 2011, a federal grand jury returned a twenty-two count indictment charging Owens, with making and presenting fraudulent claims against the United States, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 287. According to court documents and testimony, Owens was employed as a tax preparer at Jackson Hewitt in Fort Pierce, Florida from January 15, 2009 through April 13, 2009. During that time period, Owens prepared and filed twenty-two individual tax returns with the IRS using falsified W-2 information. She effectuated this scheme in order to fraudulently obtain money from the IRS for individuals who were not entitled to tax refunds.

On May 24, 2011, Owens pleaded guilty to Counts 1 through 12 of the indictment, charging her with making and presenting fraudulent claims against the United States Government.

Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Parente.

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A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.

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