Griffin, Ga. Tax Preparer Pleads Guilty to Filing False Tax Returns
ATLANTA - Buffy Drake has pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud by filing false federal tax returns claiming fraudulent refunds in excess of $2.5 million.
“Filing false tax returns is stealing money right from the pockets of millions of honest taxpayers,” said United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates. “Dishonest tax return preparers who choose to conduct business this way will be caught and prosecuted.”
“Return preparer fraud is a priority for IRS Criminal Investigation and we have committed many resources to investigating and prosecuting cases just like this,” stated Veronica F. Hyman-Pillot, Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation. “This defendant stole from the American taxpayer by filing false tax returns and today she is being held responsible for her actions.”
According to United States Attorney Yates, the charges and other information presented in court: Drake operated a tax preparation business in Griffin, Ga., named “Imagine That.” While operating “Imagine That,” Drake filed hundreds of false tax returns that claimed millions of dollars in fraudulent refunds. In total, from 2011 through 2012, Drake filed tax returns claiming in excess of $2,500,000 in fraudulent refunds. Drake retained a substantial portion of the proceeds from this scheme.
Drake, 43, of Griffin, Ga., has agreed to pay restitution to the IRS in the amount of $2,611,928.
In determining the actual sentence, the Court will consider the United States Sentencing Guidelines, which are not binding but provide appropriate sentencing ranges for most offenders. Sentencing is scheduled for May 20, 2014, at 10:00 a.m. before United States District Judge Timothy C. Batten Sr.
This case is being investigated by Special Agents of the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Division with the assistance of the City of Griffin Police Department.
Assistant United States Attorney Thomas J. Krepp is prosecuting the case.
For further information please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Public Affairs Office at USAGAN.PressEmails@usdoj.gov or (404) 581-6016. The Internet address for the home page for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia Newnan Division is http://www.justice.gov/usao/gan/.